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Willmar man sentenced to seven years for drug sale

Joel Gomez

WILLMAR — A Willmar man was sentenced to 84 months in the St. Cloud Correctional Facility after being convicted of second-degree drug sale.

Joel Gomez, 36, of Willmar, was initially charged with first-degree sale, third-degree sale and third-degree possession stemming from a CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force narcotics search in October 2017. In a plea agreement, the first-degree sale was amended to second-degree sale, and the two third-degree charges were dropped.

Gomez received 114 days credit for time already served and is also sentenced to pay $1,270 in fees.

According to the court documents, members of CEE-VI were conducting surveillance on a residence on the 600 block of Pacific Avenue Southwest in Willmar before beginning the search. While watching the building, the officers observed a man later identified as Joel Gomez come outside, put something in the trunk of a black Mustang and drive away.

One task force officer followed Gomez to a business in Willmar where Gomez parked next to a second vehicle. A woman exited the second car and walked up to the Mustang's driver side window. The court records said the woman was there for a few seconds before returning to her vehicle. Gomez then left.

After a traffic stop of the second vehicle, the task force officer was told by the woman that she had purchased methamphetamine from Gomez for $100, court records said.

During the search of the residence, officers found methamphetamine, digital scales, suspected synthetic marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia and hundreds of dollars in cash.

Gomez was found by officers trying to flee out a back stairwell. After his arrest, $134 in cash was found on Gomez' person.

Court records show Gomez has prior convictions of third-degree possession from 2007 and first-degree possession in 2012.