16 pounds of marijuana seized, man arrested in St. Peter

Sixteen pounds of raw marijuana was seized and one man was arrested after a successful narcotics investigation in St. Peter.

According to the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office, agents with the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force (CRDVOTF) conducted a narcotics investigation involving Francisco Farias-Maldonado after receiving information that he was transporting a large amount of drugs from Chicago to southern Minnesota.

On Feb. 18, agents saw Farias-Maldonado's 2014 Mazda 6 parked at a residence located at 100 block Summit Park in St. Peter. They then saw him exit the residence and get into the Mazda. Agents followed the vehicle and coordinated a traffic stop with a Le Sueur County deputy.

The agents received search warrants for Farias-Maldonado's vehicle, residence and himself, according to the release.

During the search of the vehicle, agents located numerous items, most notably three large vacuum-sealed bags containing raw marijuana, each bag believed to contain one pound.

Farias-Maldonado was arrested and sent to jail in Le Sueur.

According to CRDVOTF, agents executed two additional search warrants in the city of St. Peter on the same day, and located 13 additional large vacuum-sealed bags with raw marijuana, each believed to contain one pound, bringing the total amount of raw marijuana seized to 16 pounds.

Farias-Maldonado later told authorities that he'd used numerous different names, and stated his real name is Juan Jose Chavez, CRDVOTF said. He also stated that he purchased approximately 55 pounds of marijuana in Illinois and brought it to the city of St. Peter.

Farias-Maldonado is facing charges in Le Sueur County for third-degree and fifth-degree controlled substance crimes.