PIPESTONE - The Minnesota State Patrol recently confiscated more than 32 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of more than $200,000 during a recent traffic stop in Pipestone County.
According to criminal complaints filed in Pipestone County District Court, Brandon Hadar Espinoza, 20, and Rolando E. Cocova, 22, both of Phoenix, Ariz., were taken into custody Sunday by a Minnesota State trooper following the alleged discovery of 32.4 pounds of methamphetamine in various compartments throughout the vehicle they were driving.
The vehicle, driven by Espinoza, was stopped on Minnesota 23 near milepost 22 in Pipestone County for allegedly traveling 76 miles per hour in a marked 60-mph zone.
The complaint states that Espinoza was identified by his Mexican driver’s license. The vehicle was registered to a third party and the insurance held by yet another individual, the complaint continues.
The trooper noted observing a strong odor of air fresheners, although none were in sight. He also documented observing many energy drinks, blankets and little luggage. Espinoza and Cocova allegedly gave inconsistent stories to the trooper as to why they were traveling through Minnesota.
According to Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Interim Commander Chris Lewis, the recent statewide average sale price for methamphetamine is $6,775 per pound. The out-of-state meth sale average is slightly more, at $7,205 per pound. While the street sale values vary given the quantities in which they’re sold, the value would have been between approximately $216,000 and $230,000 depending on where it was sold.
As a result, Espinoza and Cocova both face felony first-degree drug sale charges, which has a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine or both.
Espinoza’s and Cocova’s conditional bail was scheduled at $50,000 and his unconditional at $200,000.