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Vetter pleads guilty to theft charges

WORTHINGTON -- John Vetter, 52, of Sioux Falls, S.D., pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Nobles County District Court to one count of theft. Vetter faced two felony charges of theft and a felony charge of possession of stolen property. Additiona...

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Vetter

WORTHINGTON -- John Vetter, 52, of Sioux Falls, S.D., pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Nobles County District Court  to one count of theft.

Vetter faced two felony charges of theft and a felony charge of possession of stolen property. Additionally, he was charged with two misdemeanor and two gross misdemeanor charges for driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit a chemical test.

Judge Gordon Moore accepted Vetter’s plea agreement Wednesday, in which Vetter pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft and one gross misdemeanor charge of refusal to submit a chemical test. The rest of the charges were dismissed.

According to court documents, the Worthington Police Department stopped a truck Aug. 17 with a city of Estherville logo on it after the driver made an illegal turn on Humiston Avenue. Vetter, who had his South Dakota driver’s license suspended because of previous DWI convictions, was identified as the truck’s driver. Vetter said he worked for the city of Estherville, and that it let him use the truck.

Vetter failed to pass the preliminary breath test, which showed his blood alcohol content at 0.15 percent. He was subsequently placed under arrest and transported to the Nobles County Jail.

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At the jail, Vetter stated he was traveling from Estherville and that he had been released from jail earlier the previous day. However, officers later learned that a truck property of the Estherville Power Plant was reported stolen that day.

Vetter said in court Wednesday that he has no recollection of stealing the vehicle due to high levels of intoxication, but realized the state had substantial evidence implicating him. Vetter’s two DWI convictions came in Minnehaha County, S.D., in July 2008 and May 2016, respectively.

Vetter will serve 60 days in jail, pay a $1,000 fine and be on probation for five years.

The two felony counts of theft and the felony count for possession of stolen property  carry a maximum sentence of no more than five years in jail, a fine of no more than $10,000 or both. The felony charge for possession of stolen property carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The DWI charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

Banez pleads guilty to drug charges

Windel Banez, 30, of Worthington, pleaded guilty to one felony count of drug possession Tuesday morning in Nobles County District Court.

Banez was charged with two felony charges of fifth-degree drug possession and storage of meth paraphernalia in the presence of child after the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force (BRDTF) agents found several drug-related items in his home on Jan. 20. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He pleaded guilty to one felony count of fifth-degree drug possession, and his other two charges could be dismissed if Judge Gordon Moore accept his plea.

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According to court records, Banez’s residence was searched by BRDTF agents and a Nobles County probation agent after he violated his probation from a previous drug-related conviction. The officers searched his home and found a Mentos container and baggies with a crystallized substance; both tested positive for methamphetamine. In addition, a pipe and baggie containing a plant material was located underneath the bed.

  If the plea agreement is accepted, Banez would serve 180 days in jail, pay a $1,082 fine and be on probation for up to five years. His jail time would be divided into two 90-days periods, which could be waived upon the recommendation of a probation officer and good behavior.

Fifth-degree drug possession carries a maximum sentence of no more than 10 years in jail (no less than six months) and a fine of no more than $20,000. Storage of meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child carries a maximum sentence of no more than five years in jail and a $10,000 fine or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia carries a $300 fine.

Related Topics: CRIMETHEFT
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