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A.L. man who placed controversial sign has not been charged

Charges have not been filed against an Albert Lea man who placed a controversial sign on the side of his business earlier this month in response to a visit from a law enforcement agency.

Search warrants were conducted Sept. 8 for Dima Corp., owned by Mal Prinzing, in Albert Lea, Mason City, St. Cloud and Rochester, according to South Central Drug Task Force Commander Andrew Drenth.

The search warrant was conducted after law enforcement believed synthetic marijuana was being sold at the business, Drenth said.

The commander said officers allegedly found a product containing a small amount of THC and invoices from distributors on the premises of the Albert Lea location at 400 W. Front St. He could not comment about what was found at the other locations.

Drenth said any product that contains THC is illegal.

An investigation into the invoices is ongoing, he said, noting though no charges have yet been recommended by the South Central Drug Task Force in Albert Lea, the items seized in the search warrant could be used in an ongoing investigation in St. Cloud, Mason City and Rochester.

Prinzing said Dima Corp. employees in Albert Lea were mistreated by law enforcement agents while they executed the search warrant.

“They treated them like hardened criminals,” he said.

“After an employee opened the door, these people with guns rounded up the people working at the time, took their cellphones and held them as hostages mostly in two rooms,” he said in a statement dated Sept. 22. “They were not allowed to answer the phones or use the restrooms. Three hours later they were all gone — taking with them all our daily and monthly records.”

Prinzing derided Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag for what he deemed as not helping him in the process. On Sept. 12, Prinzing posted a digital sign on the side of the Front Street location that read, “Concerned voter asked where the (expletive) was Freitag?” The sign has since been changed to a different message, which also targets Freitag.

“I supported him in his run for office with hundreds of dollars, plus, plus, plus!” he wrote. “As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, he knew or he should have known he could search any building, car or airplane I own, including my home, without a warrant or goons.”

Prinzing, who has owned Dima Corp. for 42 years, cited his service in World War II and his status as a longtime community business as evidence of the positive contributions he has made to the region.

Freitag said Prinzing told him to put a stop to the investigation once he learned of the search warrant.

“What he was asking me to do was the height of unethical,” he said.

Freitag in a previous interview said he reportedly told Prinzing he wouldn’t stop the search because the officers were not from the Sheriff’s Office and because he nor anyone else could stop action stemming from a judge’s order.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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