Drug-trafficking trial might wrap up

From staff reports

The trial for a Stewartville man accused of being involved in a marijuana trafficking operation is expected to wrap up today.

Joseph Dale Kruger, 38, was one of three people charged with conspiracy to commit controlled substance crime and with sale of marijuana. The case is being tried by Judge Joseph Wieners; Kruger waived his right to a jury trial Monday.

The charges stem from a traffic stop made by a state trooper in Nebraska in March 1999. The trooper found 201 pounds of marijuana, which the driver said he was delivering to a Rochester man. The driver agreed to work as an informant and later arranged delivery with Roger Bennett, one of the three men subsequently charged in 2001. He pleaded guilty to to his involvement and was sentenced in October 2003. He was put on probation for 30 years and ordered to pay more than $7,000 in fines, as well as serve six months in jail.

The charges against the third defendant, Rusty Scott Culver, were thrown out by the judge, who said there was insufficient evidence to support a search warrant of Culver's house.

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