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Second group of five in court on drug charges

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Another round of suspects from Austin’s recent drug sting went to court Tuesday.

One of the suspects, William Alvarez, 34, had been out on bail since early June after pleading guilty in Mower District Court to a felony count of first-degree drug crime for selling cocaine to a police informant in April in Austin. Set for a Sept. 19 sentencing in that case, Alvarez now is facing a felony count of third-degree drug crime for allegedly buying 5.4 grams of cocaine Friday from a confidential informant for local authorities.

Alvarez, 605 Seventh St. N.W., appeared Tuesday in court with fellow suspects — all from Austin — Paul Anderson Cerny, 40; Matthew Michael Jenson, 23; Juan Gerardo Monroy, 41; and Phillipe Eke Okorie, 21.

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Overall, authorities arrested 10 men Friday and Saturday in Austin as part of a major drug sting. They were arrested in or near parking lots in Austin.

On Tuesday, Alvarez told the judge he was working and "done with drugs."

"I’m innocent in this case," Alvarez said through an interpreter, but adding, "Why do they (police) put drugs in front of me?"

Judge Donald E. Rysavy set bail for Monroy at $1 million unconditional or $100,000 with conditions. Alvarez and Okorie each received $500,000 without conditions or $100,000 with conditions.

Monroy, 1209 Fourth Ave. S.E., is facing two criminal complaints that each have a felony count of first-degree drug crime, one for sale and one for possession. Monroy also is charged with felony aggravated forgery for allegedly having a false Minnesota driver’s license.

The complaints allege Monroy bought 65.8 grams of cocaine Friday from an informant and sold about 13 grams of cocaine in spring to an informant.

Okorie, 1603 Fourth Ave. N.W., is charged with single felony counts of first- and fifth-degree drug crimes for allegedly buying 30.1 grams — more than one ounce — of cocaine and about 1.2 pounds of marijuana Friday from a police informant.

Rysavy set bail for Cerny at $250,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions, and for Jenson at $100,000 without conditions or $10,000 with conditions.

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Cerny, 2800 12th St. S.W., is charged with a felony count of second-degree drug crime for allegedly buying 16.2 grams of cocaine Friday from a police informant.

Jenson, 508 22nd St. N.W., is charged with single felony counts of aiding and abetting first- and fifth-degree drug crimes for allegedly driving Okorie to the drug transaction.

On Monday, the sting’s five other suspects had bail set in court. Those suspects are Steven Michael Dittrich, 49, of Owatonna; John Michael Howe, 41, of Austin; Jon Glenn Luna, 39, of Austin; Rafael Gonzalez Montesinos, 23, of Albert Lea; and Cesar Alejandro Zuno, 24, of Albert Lea.

Dittrich, Howe, Montesinos and Zuno each face a felony count of first-degree drug crime for allegedly separately buying cocaine from an informant.

Luna faces a single felony count of fifth-degree drug crime for allegedly buying about 1.2 pounds of marijuana from an informant.

All 10 suspects from the sting are to return to court Aug. 7.

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