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Menjivar-Melendez set for contested omnibus hearing

WORTHINGTON -- Carlos Menjivar-Melendez, 26, of Worthington, made his initial appearance Tuesday morning in Nobles County District Court on first-degree drug charges.

WORTHINGTON - Carlos Menjivar-Melendez, 26, of Worthington, made his initial appearance Tuesday morning in Nobles County District Court on first-degree drug charges.

  According to court records, a confidential informant (CI) told a special agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that a purchase of methamphetamine was scheduled for March 24. The CI made arrangements through text messages to meet with Rogelio Garcia-Jimenez at El Mexicano grocery store. The CI was going to  purchase $1,300 worth of meth.

  The CI and Garcia-Jimenez met in an alley behind the grocery store and then proceeded to go inside El Mexicano. Once inside, the CI was ordered to go to the “meat counter,” where another individual and Menjivar-Melendez were going to give the CI the drugs.

  The CI asked Melendez-Garcia if the package was ready, and Menjivar-Melendez removed a zip lock bag containing 27.5 grams of meth (including the bag) from his pocket and placed it between two shelves. The CI gave Garcia-Melendez the money and exited the store.

  It’s not the first time Melendez-Garcia is facing first-degree drug charges. He has a pending case from a Sept. 20 incident, when the WPD received a search warrant after a suspicious car left Menjivar-Melendez’s house. Officers found five pounds of meth at the residence, with the drug spread through the house in bundles and zip block bags. He was arrested and taken to the Nobles County Jail, and a bail of $20,000 was set.

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  Menjivar-Melendez will return to court Dec. 28 for a contested omnibus hearing.

  First-degree possession of controlled substance carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail, a $1,000,000 fine or both.

  Dammer sentence postponed

  Donna Dammer, 66, of Rushmore, appeared Tuesday afternoon in Nobles County District Court for sentencing, but her sentencing was postponed due to health issues.

Judge Gordon Moore said a new date for her sentencing will be scheduled by court administration. Dammer said Tuesday that she was having respiratory problems and is scared she won't be able to “move around prison.” She will visit a lung doctor, who will determine if she needs any surgical procedure, in the next couple of days. Moore told Dammer to be in constant contact with her probation agent, and that he will have to take a final decision about her sentence within 30 days.

“I am not trying to be cruel, but we need to finalize this matter,” Moore said.

Dammer is facing two second-degree possession charges, as well as charges of storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of child or vulnerable adult and possession of drug paraphernalia. She pleaded guilty to one drug possession charge and as part of the plea agreement, the rest of the charges could be dismissed. If Moore accepts Dammer’s plea agreement, she will have to serve 42 months in jail.

Dammer has previous convictions for fifth-degree controlled substance crime in Rock and Cottonwood counties. If convicted on the Nobles County charges, second-degree controlled substance felonies carry a maximum sentence of three to 40 years in prison, a $500,000 fine or both. Fifth-degree possession carries a maximum sentence of six months to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. Storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

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Adrian man faces drug charges

Cody Sengsavang, 20, of Adrian made his initial appearance Tuesday morning in Nobles County District Court on several drug charges.

Sengsavang is facing two felony counts of fifth-degree drug possession, one gross misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree controlled substance and two petty misdemeanor charges of marijuana and paraphernalia possession. He also faces a petty misdemeanor charge for speeding.

According to court records, a Nobles County Sheriff's Office officer spotted a car weaving whiting lanes and speeding Nov. 6 on Minnesota 91 near Nobles County 14. The officer stopped the car and approached the vehicle to talk to the driver, who was identified as Sengsavang, and a woman was also sitting on the passenger seat.

While talking with Sengsavang, the officer smelled marijuana odor coming from inside the car, but Sengsavang denied there was marijuana in the car or that he had smoked it. He failed to give the officer his driver's license and was asked to stepped out of the car. When the officer checked his driving status, he learned of a warrant for Sengsavang and arrested him.

The officer also searched the vehicle and found a baggie with a white substance that later field-tested positive for one gram (including the bag) of methamphetamine. Several pills were also found, including 12 pills of Tramadol, a schedule IV controlled substance, as well as half of a pill of acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate, both Schedule II controlled substances.

The defense attorney requested an omnibus hearing and said Sengsavang will plead not guilty to all charges. If the matter is not resolved with the state, a two-day jury trial will be scheduled.

Should Sengsavang be found guilty, he could be face a maximum sentence of five years in jail, a $10,000 fine or both for each of the fifth-degree drug possession charges. The controlled substance in the fifth degree charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia carries a maximum sentence of a $300 fine.

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Related Topics: CRIME
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