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Authorities seize more than 50 pounds of pot; man charged

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

A tip from an informant led to the arrest last week of an Owatonna man and the seizure of more than 50 pounds of marijuana.

Aurelio Resendiz-Bernal, 28, is charged with one count of second-degree and two counts of third-degree controlled substance crime for allegedly being in possession of and selling large quantities of the illegal drug.

His is the second significant marijuana arrest in recent weeks. There is no evidence the two drug cases are related. Police say there is no evidence that the use of marijuana in the Rochester area is increasing or decreasing.

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"I would attribute the two most recent arrests on good police work," said Capt. Brian Winters. "It’s not necessarily indicative of some new trend in the community where people are trying to capitalize on a market."

Unconditional bail has been set at $150,000 for Resendiz-Bernal, and conditional bail is set at $75,000. He returns to court March 1.

Winters said putting a street value on the marijuana seized would be pure speculation.

On Jan. 31, authorities arrested Pablo Margarito Luna, 33, of Rochester, who was charged with third-degree controlled substance crime for allegedly selling large quantities of marijuana. Authorities seized about 20 pounds of the drug.

In the most recent case, narcotics officers got a tip from an informant last Monday that Resendiz-Bernal was selling marijuana in the Rochester area. Officers from several agencies tracked Resendiz-Bernal from Owatonna to locations in Rochester. He was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy in the Byron area. Authorities say the man showed a false identification card. The vehicle was impounded.

According to the criminal complaint, officers found a car stereo box in the trunk that contained 10 packages of marijuana, each weighing 1 pound. A sealed cardboard box also was found containing 17 packages of marijuana. Officers searched Resendiz-Bernal’s storage unit at Lock Away Storage and found a duffel bag containing 30 packages of marijuana. In all, authorities seized 57 pounds of marijuana.

The complaint said Resendiz-Bernal admitted the marijuana was his and that he sells it.

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