Albert Lea man sentenced to prison time for ineligibly possessing firearm

Published 4:15 pm Monday, May 6, 2024

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A 50-year-old Albert Lea man was sentenced to five years in prison last week for unlawfully possessing a firearm during a traffic stop in May 2023 in Albert Lea.

Oziel Valdez pleaded guilty in November to one court of ineligible possession of a firearm in exchange for the dismissal of one count of first-degree drug possession and one count of second-degree drug possession.

Valdez was ineligible to possess a firearm after being previously convicted of felony second-degree drug sale on two separate occasions and one count of felony third-degree drug sale on another case.

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He will serve the prison sentence at the St. Cloud correctional facility. He will receive credit for 155 days already served. The sentence was the mandatory minimum for the charge.

According to online court records, Valdez was arrested May 6, 2023, after he was pulled over in a vehicle known to officers to have expired vehicle registration.

Court documents state Valdez did not immediately pull over in the vehicle and it took approximately 30 seconds to do so.

The officer reportedly found methamphetamine in two small baggies in the car as well as a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 and a box of 20 rounds of ammunition, after which Valdez was  arrested and transported to the jail.