WORTHINGTON — A St. Cloud man was convicted Wednesday of third-degree drug possession related to the discovery of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia during a September 2018 traffic stop.
Darien C. Frank, 26, was sentenced to 318 days in jail, which he'd satisfied by Wednesday's sentencing. A prison commitment of 45 months was stayed for 10 years of probation. However, Frank will be serving prison time on another matter from Kandiyohi County.
Frank was arrested and charged in Nobles County after driving a vehicle that contained 140 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia. Carlos Lee Rey Garza, who fled the vehicle after it had been stopped, then burglarized two homes in attempt to swap out recognizable clothing while picking up valuable items along the way.
In December, Garza was convicted of three felony charges and sentenced to more than five years in prison. He's currently in the Challenge Incarceration Program at the Willow River facility. The CIP program includes a combination of boot camp and intensive aftercare rehabilitation to individuals who are good candidates for early release.
Back in the courtroom Wednesday, counsel agreed that Frank played a lesser role in the crime, so it agreed to depart from the presumptive execution of sentence.
Prior to being sentenced, Frank told Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore he had turned his life on a better path once he became a father. That will be his motivation to commit to a sober life void of criminal activity.
"I know how to do two things — do bad and be a father," Frank said. "Being a father is the greatest thing that ever happened to me."
Frank also expressed some of the struggles he's faced with the legal system that puts him back in a cycle for failure, including issues with his birth certificate, Social Security card and the financial burden of paying for urinalysis to be compliant with terms of his probation. Because of the struggles, he chose to have his sentence executed in another matter so that he could take advantage of programs with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, which he believes will better prepare him to assimilate back into society.
Moore hoped the best for Frank, although he was a bit skeptical.
"I believe you are sitting here clear-headed and that you're sincere," Moore said, adding that being released from prison is a "hard landing" and many return back to "the only thing they know."
On the Nobles County case, Frank was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, which may be satisfied by community work service. Five other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Frank was remanded back into Nobles County Jail custody to be transported to the St. Cloud corrections facility.