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Drug dealers arrested, meth taken off street

WORTHINGTON -- The Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force has removed two alleged drug dealers from the streets after numerous controlled buys through confidential informants (CI) resulted in their arrests.

Santos Manuel Lorenzo-Castillo, 25, and Maria Xenia Espinoza Lopez, 19, are sitting in the Nobles County Jail on a $20,000 bail each.

Both are charged with a dozen felony drug charges, including first-degree controlled substance sale and possession.

The complaints state the task force made arrangements with a CI to purchase an "eight-ball" of methamphetamine July 19 from a person known as "Jose" at a home in the 1500 block of Dover Street.

The CI was given $350 in buy money, and sent to the home, where he allegedly met with a Hispanic man. Agents could hear the two speaking about the meth and a battery problem with the scale.

After the buy, the CI turned over 3.8 grams of meth.

On Aug. 1, a CI made arrangements to buy a half ounce of meth from "Jose."

The CI was dropped off at a pre-arranged location and walked to the Dover Street location, which the task force had under surveillance.

Agents could hear the CI speaking with the man, whose voice they recognized from controlled phone calls.

The Hispanic man was heard discussing problems with his scale, and the CI and the Hispanic man discussed the price of a full ounce of meth. After the buy, the CI turned over 14 grams of meth.

Another buy was arranged Sept. 8. A CI had arranged the purchase of an ounce of meth for $2,400 from "Jose."

The CI later told the agents "Jose" had told the CI to stop at the Dover Street house and pick up the meth from his girlfriend.

An undercover agent went with the CI to pick up the meth, and a Hispanic woman, later identified as Lopez, answered the door. She invited them inside and asked if they needed the ounce.

She led them to a bedroom and retrieved a knotted plastic baggie from a bag hanging on the door.

She opened the closet door, brought out a scale and showed them the meth weighed 28.4 grams.

Money exchanged hands and the CI asked if another ounce could be purchased that same day.

Lopez assured the CI the meth could be purchased.

Shortly after the agent and the CI left, the woman left in a vehicle. Agents stopped the car and Lopez was arrested.

Later that day, the Hispanic man was dropped off at the Dover Street house.

Agents recognized the man and arrested him. While searching him, agents found a baggie of meth weighing .8 grams.

The man identified himself as Lorenzo-Castillo, and had an international driving document with the same name, as well as a Guatemalan ID card.

When a search warrant was executed later, authorities found $2,470 in cash, which included all the buy money from earlier that day.

Several bags of meth were recovered at an approximate total weight of 16.5 grams.

Numerous empty plastic baggies were found, as were Social Security cards and photo IDs bearing various names.

During an interview, Lopez said Lorenzo-Castillo is her boyfriend, who uses the name Jose.

She allegedly stated she had recognized the CI when he came to her house and admitted she thought the substance she sold was drugs, but claimed Lorenzo-Castillo had told her she would not get in trouble.

Lopez and Lorenzo-Castillo were granted public defenders, and both are scheduled to make court appearances Tuesday.