Montevideo man sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for heroin possession

A Montevideo man pleaded guilty in May to possession of nearly a pound of heroin, plus cocaine and marijuana.

Luis Enrique Leal

MONTEVIDEO โ€” Luis Enrique Leal was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to having nearly a pound of heroin and other drugs in his possession at his home.

The CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force and Montevideo Police Department officers had found the drugs during a search of Lealโ€™s Montevideo home in January.

Leal, 26, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of first-degree drug possession and was sentenced in late May in Chippewa County District Court. He received a prison sentence of 10.5 years, with credit for 140 days served in jail. He was ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $1,075.

Leal is currently at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections website.

Under state law, Leal will serve a minimum of two-thirds of his sentence in custody, and the rest may be served on supervised release.


At the time of sentencing, a first-degree drug sale charge was dismissed.

According to court records, a tip to law enforcement led to the search of Lealโ€™s home.

Agents knocked on his door when they arrived, but when he did not come to the door, they used a ram to break it open.

The search yielded 400 grams of heroin, more than 14 ounces. Agents also found 23 grams of cocaine, which is nearly an ounce, and also almost an ounce of marijuana.

Authorities found drug paraphernalia, including a digital scale and baggies, in the home. One of the baggies tested positive for methamphetamine.

In a pants pocket, agents found $1,340 in cash and a notebook with a pay/owe sheet with names and contact information.

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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