Worthington man sentenced for his part in marijuana shipment
WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man who pleaded guilty in January to possession of 10 kilos or more of marijuana from a 2008 arrest was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The actual sentence is for 27 months with the Minnesota Department of Correction, but that sentence is stayed with the condition that Fernando Dominguez, 38, serve 90 days in jail, with credit for the 40 days he has already served.
He is also to pay a $1,000 fine and serve five years of probation, abstain from drugs and alcohol and submit to random testing.
According to Nobles County Assistant Attorney Travis Smith, one of the co-conspirators in the case, a key witness, was not able to be located, and Dominguez has stated he does not know much about what happened in the case.
The case first came to the attention of authorities in 2008 when a confidential informant (CI) contacted an agent of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and said Dominguez had approached him and asked him to secure an apartment to ship marijuana to Worthington from Mission, Texas.
An apartment was secured, and in mid-December, the CI said Dominguez and his wife were driving to Mission and would ship two large packages.
The first was sent via UPS and intercepted at the facility in Slayton.
The Murray County K-9 Unit positively identified the presence of drug odor, a search warrant was procured and the package was opened.
More than 40 pounds of marijuana were revealed. Arrangements were made to have the package delivered, and a co-conspirator, Bernardo Villarreal, was later arrested picking up the package. Dominguez was also arrested.
During an interview at the law enforcement center, he said he had gone to Texas to visit a family member and brought back a friend, Villarreal.
He denied knowing anything about a package from Texas of the marijuana business. Villarreal told agents he lives in Texas and was friends with Dominguez's brother, known as Lalo.
Villarreal said he watched Lalo package the marijuana and listened as Dominguez and Lalo discussed how the package would be shipped.
A second package weighing approximately 42 pounds was seized a few days later.
According to Minnesota's electronic court document filing system, MNCIS, Villarreal pleaded guilty to third-degree controlled substance possession in March 2009 and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, five years probation and a $1,000 fine, which he never paid.
A warrant was issued for his arrest in August 2009.