(St. Paul, MN) -- Several Minnesota men have been sentenced to prison for their role in a methamphetamine drug distribution ring opperating inside the Twin Cities.
According to court documents, Aaron Michael Stenquist, 50, of Isanti, Gerald Allen Jensen, 58, of Brook Park, and Juan Jose Paniagua, 25, of West Covina, California, and others conspired together to sell methamphetamine in the Twin Cities and several surrounding counties.
Court documents say Stenquist was stopped by a Minnesota State Trooper on July 29th, 2020, and was found to have 335 grams of methamphetamine in his vehicle. The documents say Stenquist purchased the drugs from Jensen.
From May 2020 through September 2020, members of the East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force (ECDVOTF) were investigating leads alleging Jensen was selling large quantities of methamphetamine from his home in Brook Park. ECDVOTF agents searched Jensen's home on September 18th, 2020 and seized approximately 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in PVP pipes estimated to be worth $105,000.
A separate delivery of methamphetamine, ordered by Paniagua to be shipped to Jensen, was intercepted by ECDVOTF agents. Both Paniagua and an accomplice fled the scene. After a 90-minute manhunt, law enforcement found Paniagua and arrested him. Agents recovered the shipment and found approximately seven kilograms of methamphetamine, worth an estimated $225,000.
Defendants Lopez, Stenquist, Jensen, and Paniagua each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Stenquist was sentenced yesterday to 120 months in prison, Jensen was sentenced on July 14, 2021, to 112 months in prison, and Paniagua was sentenced on October 8, 2021, to 80 months in prison. On November 2, 2021, an alleged co-conspirator was arrested in San Diego, California, pursuant to a federal warrant.