Willmar man sent to prison for theft by swindle after failed drug deal

A planned drug deal never took place, but a Willmar man apparently kept the money he received from a confidential informant.

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GRANITE FALLS — A Willmar man has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for a theft by swindle conviction.

Jaime Cisneros Pizarro, 29, was sentenced July 6 in Yellow Medicine County District Court.

Jaime Cisneros Pizarro.jpg

A first-degree drug sale conspiracy charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Also part of the guilty plea was an agreement to delay sentencing and allow him to stay on supervised release until after May 24, so he could travel to Florida for his wedding.

Cisneros Pizarro was given credit for 14 days already served in custody. He was ordered to pay $320 in fines and court fees.

Under state law, inmates must spend at least two-thirds of their total sentence and may spend the remaining time on supervised release.


Cisneros Pizarro was charged in January after meeting with a confidential informant for the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force.

According to the court file, the informant had told task force agents that Cisneros Pizarro offered to sell one-quarter pound of methamphetamine for $2,400. They were to meet at Prairie’s Edge Casino outside Granite Falls.

Agents set up surveillance and provided pre-recorded cash for the drug buy.

At the meeting, Cisneros Pizarro told the informant that he couldn’t bring the drugs into the casino and proposed another meeting location 20 minutes later. He said he needed to weigh the drugs, to separate a quarter pound from the full pound he had.

Task force agents followed Cisneros Pizarro as he drove to the meeting place. Agents believed he was trying to see if he was being followed, according to court records.

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After Cisneros Pizarro drove past the meeting spot, agents pulled him over on a Renville County road. He told them he had been at the casino to collect a debt that was owed a friend of his and showed them the cash in the center console of his car.

According to the criminal complaint, task force agents believe Cisneros Pizarro to be a high-level drug dealer in the Willmar area.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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