WORTHINGTON — A traffic stop on Minnesota 60, near Roberts Avenue, earlier this month netted 273 air-sealed packages filled with approximately 300 pounds of marijuana and felony charges against two out-of-state men.
Billy Joseph Allonce, 37, of Los Angeles, California, and Jose Anthony Lopez, 39, of Elmont, New York, each face three counts in Nobles County Fifth Judicial District Court, including importing controlled substances across state borders, first degree drug sale (25 kilograms or more of marijuana), and first degree possession of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana.
The men were apprehended at approximately 2 a.m. Aug. 10 by local law enforcement after driving over the posted speed limit.
When law enforcement approached the vehicle, it was noted the two back rows of seats were laid flat and the entire passenger compartment was stuffed full of large duffle bags. The vehicle was rented in California and was to be returned to Oakland, California that day. According to the report, neither Allonce nor Lopez were authorized drivers on the rental agreement and, upon further investigation, it was discovered Lopez’s license was suspended and Allonce’s license was suspended or revoked.
Lopez allegedly refused the officer’s request to search the vehicle, after which a K-9 assist was requested. K-9 Frankee performed an exterior sniff of the vehicle and alerted his handler to probable cause to search the vehicle.
The officer unzipped one of the duffle bags and reportedly discovered it was packed full of air-sealed bags of marijuana. A second duffle bag was reportedly opened and revealed similar contents. In all, there were nine duffle bags filled with packages of marijuana.
Lopez and Allonce each posted non-cash bonds and are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Aug. 25.
If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of up to 35 years imprisonment and/or a $1.25 million fine for importing controlled substances across state borders; and up to 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1 million fine on each of the other two counts against them.