Willmar, Minnesota, man sentenced to more than six years for drug sale charge


— A Willmar man, identified by authorities as a Latin Kings gang member, was sentenced to 81 months of prison after pleading guilty to possessing more than 100 grams of methamphetamine to sell. Agents also reported finding more than

three pounds of marijuana

while searching his Willmar residence.

Ruben Lee Vallejo, 41, was sentenced in November in Kandiyohi County District Court. He pleaded guilty to an amended first-degree controlled substance crime in October.

Vallejo was previously charged with five felony drug charges. Vallejo was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and fleeing a police officer by means other than a motor vehicle.

In exchange for his plea, the remaining charges were dismissed. County attorneys also agreed not to argue for more than an 81-month prison sentence. Vallejo was given credit for 152 days served.

Convicted offenders must serve at least two-thirds of their prison sentence in custody before possibly serving the remaining time on supervised release. According to the Department of Corrections, Vallejo's expected release date from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud is Dec. 13, 2027.

According to an amended criminal complaint, Vallejo was a large supplier of methamphetamine within the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force's service area. Agents began investigating Vallejo after receiving a tip in January of 2023.

Agents determined Vallejo resided within the 400 block of 13th Street Northeast in Willmar. Throughout the investigation, agents were able to conduct multiple undercover drug purchases from Vallejo at his Willmar home.

On June 10, 2023, an agent applied for and was granted a search warrant for Vallejo's residence.

The agent had also received information that Vallejo possibly was in possession of a firearm and was ineligible to have one. As a result, agents decided it would be best to detain Vallejo.

On June 14, 2023, agents saw Vallejo exit his home and step into an SUV. Agents followed the SUV and noted the vehicle had one brake light out.

A Willmar police officer in a marked police car then performed a stop on Vallejo at the intersection of Business Highway 71 and 10th Street Northeast.

According to the complaint, Vallejo was outside his vehicle while an officer spoke with him, and he initially tried to run through the ditch between the highway and service road before he was given commands to stop, with which he complied.

Vallejo stated that he had something on him after police put him in handcuffs. A small plastic baggie with a crystal-like substance, which later tested positive for methamphetamine, was located in one of Vallejo's pockets. Vallejo was transported to the law enforcement center.

A search of Vallejo's residence was then conducted. Agents found more than three pounds of marijuana, two pounds of butane hash oil, 11 ounces of psilocybin mushrooms and 6.5 ounces of methamphetamine, according to a news release issued at the time of Vallejo's arrest.

About $2,500, a pistol and ammunition was also found in the residence.