Commander Jay Salzer advised that the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force started an investigation in January of this year reference a group of individuals in the St. Cloud area distributing large amounts of Methamphetamine. Through the investigation, Investigators identified Armondo NMN Gonzales, 58, of Texas, and Maria Luisa Placencia, 68, also from Texas. Investigators knew that other individuals were also assisting them with distributing methamphetamine. Investigators ultimately purchased more than a pound of methamphetamine from Armondo NMN Gonzales and associates.
On 03-03-2019 Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task force learned that two individuals related to this group were driving into St. Cloud from the Minneapolis area with firearms and controlled substances. Investigators coordinated with marked law enforcement officers and attempted to stop the vehicle. Officers initiated a traffic stop, a pursuit began, but was quickly ended due to safety. Investigators learned the occupants were throwing controlled substances and firearms from the vehicle. After the pursuit ended, the vehicle was ultimately located in Benton County and spike strips were used to stop the vehicle. Located in the vehicle was Justin Tyler Larson, 33 of St. Cloud and David James Cantillo, 33 also from St. Cloud. Over 100 grams of methamphetamine believed to be thrown from the vehicle was located. Cantillo was booked in Stearns County jail for Fleeing in a motor vehicle and and 1st degree possession of controlled substance. Larson was booked into Stearns County jail as well for a Department of Corrections warrant, 1st and 5th degree possession of controlled substance and fleeing in a motor vehicle.
In the early morning hours of 03-05-2019 investigators from the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force learned that Armondo NMN Gonzales and Maria Luisa Placencia were staying in a hotel in the St. Cloud area. Investigators believed they were in possession of firearms and controlled substances. Investigators applied for and were granted a search warrant for the hotel room. Present in the room were Gonzales, Placencia, and Mitchell Gordon Vipond, 26,of Alexandria Mn. A search of the room revealed items associated with the distribution of controlled substances, approximately $11,000, 3.36 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, heroin and four hand guns. Additional search warrants were conducted in the St. Cloud and Albany area and an additional handgun and two rifles were recovered.
Armondo Gonzales was ultimately booked for 1st degree drug sales, 1st degree drug possession, a Department of Corrections warrant and firearms related charges. Maria Placencia was booked for 1st degree possession and 1st degree drug charges. Mitchell Vipond was booked for 1st degree drug sales and 1st degree drug possession charges as well as firearm related charges. All were booked into Stearns County Jail.
The Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force was assisted by State Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm (ATF), Benton, Wright, and Morrison County Deputies, Albany SaukRapids and St. Cloud Police Dapartments, as well as the St. Cloud Swat Team. The Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force is comprised of Investigators from St. Cloud, and Sartell, Police Departments as well as deputies from Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Todd and Morrison County Sheriff Offices.