Albert Lea man charged with meth found in traffic stop

Published 4:31 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

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An Albert Lea man is facing drug charges after he was allegedly found with methamphetamine during a traffic stop in the city on Saturday.

Oziel Valdez

Oziel Valdez, 49, was charged in Freeborn County District Court on Monday with one count of first-degree drug possession, one count of second-degree drug possession and one count of ineligible possession of a firearm.

Court documents state an Albert Lea police officer was on routine patrol in Albert Lea Saturday when he saw the vehicle traveling northbound on Frank Avenue. The officer was familiar with the vehicle and knew its registration had expired.

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The officer traveled behind the vehicle as it made multiple turns, and eventually he activated his emergency lights and attempted to pull the vehicle over. It ultimately pulled over about 30 seconds later.

Valdez was the driver and only occupant of the vehicle. When talking with him, the officer saw a few small plastic baggies containing a white crystalline substance, and one of the baggies had a knot tied at the end of it.

After a search of the vehicle, officers found a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 with a loaded magazine in the center console of the vehicle. A box of 20 rounds of ammunition was in the back passenger seat pouch.

One of the bags of drugs field-tested positive for meth.

The total amount of suspected meth in the bags totaled 36 grams.

In court on Monday, Judge Ross Leuning ordered unconditional conditional bail be set at $200,000, with conditional bail set at $100,000.

Valdez has two previous second-degree drug sales convictions and one previous third-degree drug sale conviction.