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Two first-degree drug convictions send two Willmar men to prison for 16 years combined

WILLMAR -- Two Willmar men were sentenced Tuesday to prison time for dealing cocaine in Willmar. Baldemar Malagon, 32, who is also known as Eliseo Castin and Baldemar Malagon Ocapo, was sentenced to 110 months and 86 months, respectively, on two ...

WILLMAR -- Two Willmar men were sentenced Tuesday to prison time for dealing cocaine in Willmar.

Baldemar Malagon, 32, who is also known as Eliseo Castin and Baldemar Malagon Ocapo, was sentenced to 110 months and 86 months, respectively, on two first-degree drug sale felonies for selling 10 or more grams of cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine within a 90-day period. Malagon was also ordered to pay $3,000 in fines and given credit for 140 days already served in jail.

Refugio Cazares, 49, also known as Refugio Cazares Acevedo, will serve 33 months and 27 months for two third-degree controlled substance crimes. He was also fined $1,500 and given credit for 139 days already served.

Both sentences were handed down by Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court. The men pleaded guilty to two charges each as part of plea agreements reached Dec. 11. Nine additional felony drug sale charges against Malagon were dismissed. Cazares pleaded guilty to the third-degree charges, which were amended from first-degree felonies for drug sales. Two additional charges for drug sale conspiracy against him were dismissed.

Cazares was charged after CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents and a confidential informant completed two drug purchases, for 15.3 grams and 29.7 grams of cocaine, on June 21 and 27 in Willmar.

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During the deals, the informant used $700 and $1,200 of drug task force money to purchase the drugs. Further surveillance by agents showed that Cazares' home was where another man went to get the drugs or get someone else who would then get the drugs to sell to the informant.

The charges were filed against Malagon for five drug sales to a CEE-VI informant in May and June in Willmar. During each deal, the informant would meet another man at a location and then the informant would wait until he got the drugs from Malagon's home or from him at another location. During one of the deals, the man told the informant that Malagon/Castin was the supplier of the drugs. On June 6, officers executed a search warrant on the home and found a digital sale, $1,900 in a safe and a $50 bill with a matching serial number to the CEE-VI task force money used in the deals.

Before Malagon's sentencing, his attorney Manuel Guerrero sought a lesser sentence than recommended by the state guidelines, stating that his client was selling drugs to support his drug and alcohol addictions. Guerrero contended that he has been unsuccessfully trying to get Malagon into treatment since he was arrested last summer.

First Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell argued that the deals were for "massive quantities of cocaine" and that when agents searched Malagon's home, they did not find drug paraphernalia, only scales, cell phones and quantities of baggies signaling drug dealing and not drug usage.

Before sentencing, Malagon told Judge Spilseth he only sold cocaine after another man persuaded him to, and that he was saving money, found during the search, that was for his house payment. He contended the $50 bill of CEE-VI money was for one time that he simply delivered drugs to someone at a Willmar business.

"I was way behind and afraid I was going to lose my house," Malagon said, adding that he has since lost the home. "Today, I'm going to lose my family too."

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