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First-degree arson in Minnesota

To prove that a person has committed first-degree arson in Minnesota, the prosecution must show that he or she performed the acts specified in the relevant statute beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of arson in the first degree are listed in statute number 609.561.

Arson in the first degree may involve a dwelling or other types of buildings. If the structure is a dwelling, a person may be held criminally liable for arson in the first degree regardless of whether or not an occupant is present. If the structure is not a dwelling, a person commits first-degree arson if an individual who is not a part of the crime is present inside the structure, or if it is a reasonable possibility that someone is present inside under the circumstances.

Man faces new drug charges after agent's home visit

A Minnesota man with a history of convictions related to controlled substances is now facing new felony charges. According to media sources, the 36-year-old man was charged with storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child and drug possession in the fifth degree following a visit to his home by a Minnesota Department of Corrections agent and a Fairmont police officer on Nov. 7. The officer came to the home at the request of the corrections agent.

The law enforcement officials arrived at the home in the 1000 block of North Prairie Avenue at 3:55 p.m. Reports indicate that the man cooperated when the officer and agent asked to enter the home and look in the basement. Both officials reportedly observed a beer and an open bottle of vodka on the basement steps. Once downstairs, they found a number of items that indicated a possible connection with methamphetamine, including bluish-colored water in a glass bowl sitting on a nightstand next to a can of butane and a green pipe.

Prosecutors shown to use race as a determining factor in pleas

Black Minnesotans who are charged with crimes are much likelier to receive harsher sentences and to be forced into accepting pleas simply to get out of jail. A new study reveals the disparities between the sentencing of black and white criminal defendants, demonstrating a need for substantial changes.

A researcher from Loyola Law School reviewed data from 30,807 misdemeanor cases that took place over a period of seven years in Wisconsin. He found that white defendants were 74 percent likelier than black defendants to have the charges that carried jail time dismissed, reduced or dropped. Among white and black people who were facing charges for the first time, the white people were much likelier to have their charges reduced than were the black people.

Minnesota man convicted on drug possession charges

A 38-year-old Minnesota man faces more than 12 years in prison after being convicted on counts of drug possession in the first and second degrees in a Morrison County court. The jury listened to evidence for three days but took less than an hour to return its verdict. The charges stem from a routine traffic stop on Highway 10 in February, and sentencing in the case is scheduled to take place on Dec. 6.

The jury heard how a Minnesota State Trooper pulled over a vehicle in Morrison County on Feb. 23 for having a cracked windshield. A records check revealed that an arrest warrant had been issued against the owner of the vehicle, and the man, who was traveling as a passenger at the time, was taken into custody. The trooper says that the female driver of the vehicle appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a subsequent search is said to have uncovered methamphetamine residue and a pipe allegedly used for smoking the drug.

Facing drug charges as part of a drug cartel

Minnesota residents who are accused of being involved in a drug cartel are particularly at risk for facing serious consequences if they are convicted on charges associated with major crimes. Drug cartels are gangs or organizations that are significantly involved in drug trafficking.

Those accused of being involved in a drug cartel face a number of common charges that may or may not be associated with drug offenses. In addition to drug trafficking and drug possession charges, for example, some members may be accused of murder, money laundering and theft. It is important to note, however, that many members in drug cartels specialize. This means that only certain members may be involved in the drug trafficking ring while others may be involved in gambling or money laundering.

Drunk driving campaign leads to 9 arrests

Albert Lea police officers took nine people into custody during an anti-DUI campaign held in Freeborn County between Aug. 18 and Sept. 1. Over 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies took part in the initiative.

According to authorities, one of the defendants was arrested after entering a stranger's house and sitting on a couch. Two others were taken into custody for allegedly driving while under the influence of drugs. Another defendant was charged with first-degree DUI and fleeing in a motor vehicle after trying to elude officers. Meanwhile, another driver was taken into custody for allegedly having a blood alcohol content level of .24, which is three times the legal limit.

Police raid gas station for drugs

In a raid conducted on Aug. 31, the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force searched a Top Star gas station and alleged stash house in Shakopee. Four people were detained when the authorities executed their search warrant.

The gas station is near the Shakopee Police Department on Marshall road, and the stash house is located on Fairbault Court. When searching the two places, the police seized $9,000, two vehicles, 25 grams of THC concentrate and 1.5 pounds of marijuana. The four people involved in this case are suspected for drug possession and sales.

Man accepts plea deal after heroin sale causes overdose

A 28-year-old Minnesota man will likely serve 39 months in prison after pleading guilty to the felony charge of possessing more than 3 grams of heroin. The plea agreement spared him from sentencing for another serious felony of distributing drugs that caused bodily harm.

The 2016 arrest occurred after authorities executed a search warrant at his home in Alexandria on Lark Street. His name emerged from an investigation conducted by the Fergus Falls Police Department and the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force into the near-fatal overdose of a 19-year-old woman. Investigators alleged that he had sold her the heroin that led to her overdose in Fergus Falls on Oak Street. The woman survived after emergency response personnel performed CPR and transported her to a health care facility.

Authorities want harsh sentences in narcotics case

The Polk County Attorney's Office made clear in court filings that it intends to seek aggravated sentencing against three men accused of trafficking narcotics. Convictions on charges of aggravated controlled substance crimes would allow a judge to impose penalties that exceed the normal Minnesota sentencing guidelines.

All three men are 20 years old, and law enforcement arrested them in an investigation that arose after a traffic stop resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old man from East Grand Forks. Police found him collapsed inside his vehicle. After searching the vehicle, police reported finding blue pills labeled A 215 that they believed to be fentanyl, a powerful opioid linked to a nonfatal overdose in the region.

Card game dispute in St. Cloud prompts stabbing, mallet strike

When you picture a card game gone wrong -- the kind of wrong that leads to violence -- it's easy to imagine a cigar-smoking villain in a saloon. Emotions can run high during a high-stakes hand in any card game, though, and that includes "Magic: The Gathering."

For the uninitiated, "Magic" is an extremely popular trading card and role-playing game in which players imagine themselves to be wizards fighting their stables of magical creatures. Millions of people around the world play its traditional and online versions.

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