Minneapolis man caught with box of meth, guilty of sale


Hennepin County District Court Judge Toddrick Barnette found a Minneapolis man guilty of possessing and selling methamphetamine, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Imeldo Villa-Penaloza, 20, was convicted of one count of possessing 50 or more grams of methamphetamine and one count of selling 17 or more grams. He will be sentenced on Feb. 14 and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will be seeking a sentence of 78 months in prison.

Villa-Penaloza requested a stipulated evidence trial, which is where both sides submit the evidence and their legal arguments to the judge. At a hearing Monday morning, Judge Barnette announced his guilty verdict.

According to the criminal complaint, on July 10, 2017, police conducting surveillance in the area of 101 Blake Road in Hopkins saw a man in a parking lot remove a blue box from an Infiniti SUV and place it in the trunk of an Acura. The driver of the Acura then moved his car to a different location in the same parking lot.

A short time later, a Cadillac SUV arrived. The passenger in this car was identified as Villa-Penaloza. Officers saw him carrying a backpack, which he placed in the Acura, removing the blue box and then getting back into the Cadillac and being driven away.

Officers made a traffic stop on the Cadillac. When they searched the SUV they found approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine, separated into 10 bags. The bags were in the blue box on the floor of the front passenger seat between Villa-Penaloza’s feet.

Additional bags were also recovered from the car and they contained approximately 1.3 pounds of meth. Officers also confiscated $1,510 in cash and a cell phone from inside the car. Combined, that was about 5,000 grams of the drug.

Villa-Penaloza told the police that he exchanged approximately $22,000 in cash, which was in the backpack, for the methamphetamines. He explained that after picking up the drugs, he was supposed to be given instruction on where to meet customers and sell the meth.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)