WORTHINGTON — Two are facing charges as the result of an early Monday morning traffic stop by a Worthington police officer that reportedly led to the discovery of approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine, court documents say.
Emilio Nieto, 22, and Vanessa Aguilar, 40, both of Bullhead City, Arizona, were charged Tuesday in Nobles County District Court with felony first-degree drug possession related to an officer's alleged discovery of 25 plastic-wrapped bundles containing a crystalline substance that tested positive for meth. Each bundle weighed approximately one pound each, the criminal complaint states.
According to the criminal complaint, a Worthington police officer was conducting routine radar near Minnesota 60 and Interstate 90 when the duo's vehicle exited near the officer's location. Shortly upon exiting, the vehicle went through the roundabout and immediately got back on the interstate, the complaint states.
The officer pulled over the vehicle for having items obstructing the driver's vision. The duo claimed to traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada to visit a friend in Owatonna. The officer noted suspicion with the duo's explanation of vehicle ownership and behavior they demonstrated, such as closely watching what the officer did on his computer, breathing heavily and twiddling thumbs.
Aguilar denied anything illegal was in the vehicle. She allowed the officer to search the vehicle, in which he allegedly discovered approximately 25 plastic-wrapped bundles containing meth.
Aguilar and Nieto's conditional bail was scheduled at $100,000; their unconditional at $200,000. If convicted, they face a maximum punishment of 30 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine or both.
Monday's arrests come just a few weeks after a Worthington officer reportedly discovered 22 pounds of meth in an unrelated case. At that time, Worthington Detective Sgt. Nate Grimmius estimated the street value of 22 pounds of meth to be $1.5 million if sold in gram quantity or approximately $150,000 if sold by the pound.
Prior to these two cases, the other most recent case involving a similar amount of meth discovered in 2017 by a Nobles County deputy was federally prosecuted.