15 arrested in drug sting - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Hrapsky

15 arrested in drug sting


AUSTIN, MN (KTTC-TV) -- More than a dozen people are feeling the burn from a police sting operation in Austin.  And one of the 15 people charged is an Austin based bail-bonds business owner.

According to the Mower County sheriff, 15 is the most people they've ever arrested in one operation during her time. And the did it using an undercover informant.

Amazi says 10 of the 15 people that have been charged were arrested on Friday and Saturday.

One of the people was 41-year-old John Michael Howe who owns Howe Advertising in Austin which also does bail bonds in the county.

According to police files, Howe has been charged with first-degree drug possession for allegedly taking one ounce of cocaine as a payment for a 3,000 dollar debt that the informant supposedly owed him.

Sheriff Amazi says the sting operation was like a domino effect of arrests.

Police, deputies, and drug task force officers bounced from one store parking lot to the next arresting people either buying or selling drugs to their informant.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi says, "We can't buy drugs, you know. We don't have the personal or that smear livelyhood that allows us to get into these individuals. You have to use the people that were originally arrested for these things to get into these groups."

Amazi says five of the fifteen arrests happened in the last month before the weekend sting operation.

She says many of the buyers didn't use money, but their cars to pay for the drugs. She says the county confiscated around ten vehicles during the sting.


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