Woman sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for meth, gun

Published 4:29 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

An Albert Lea woman was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison Friday for felony first-degree drug possession stemming from a traffic stop in September 2022.

Veronica Nicole Garcia, 29, pleaded guilty in April to one count of felony first-degree drugs — possess 25 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine and a firearm. She initially also faced a charge of felony receiving stolen property and carrying or possessing a pistol without a permit in a public place, but those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Garcia will receive credit for 229 days served and will serve her sentence in the Shakopee prison, according to online court records.

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Court documents state Garcia was arrested after a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled over a motorcycle that she was riding on with another male. Garcia at that time had a warrant for her arrest.

When the deputy approached the motorcycle and told Garcia she had a warrant, she took off her backpack and fanny pack and attempted to give them to the driver. She told the deputy she was just holding the bags for the other person because he was driving the bike.

When searched, the fanny pack was found to have two plastic bags that contained methamphetamine and a small amount of cash was also in the zippered compartment. An AirPods case was in another compartment.

In the backpack, a small caliber semi-automatic Ruger handgun was found. Officers removed a magazine in the gun that contained several rounds of .380 ammunition. When dispatchers ran the serial number on the gun, they discovered it was stolen out of Willmar.

A handgun magazine for a semi-automatic was also in the backpack, as well as a plastic bag with wet tubing.

Police found the total methamphetamine to weigh about 34 grams.