Apple Valley ex-con charged after sting operation, major Dakota County drug seizure

Apple Valley ex-con charged after sting operation, major Dakota County drug seizure

An Apple Valley man on Friday was charged with three drug-related crimes after police found a gun, several pounds of drugs and thousands of dollars in cash in his storage locker.

Alphonse Latrese Herron Jr., 34, who has an extensive criminal record with convictions dating back to 2003, was caught in a carefully orchestrated police sting operation.

Alphonse Latrese Herron, Jr.

“This was one of the largest seizures of illegal drugs in Dakota County’s history,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “We believe this is part of a large illegal drug smuggling operation from California. This seizure demonstrates the continuing problem of methamphetamine and fentanyl use in our community.”

According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 18, Herron made arrangements to meet with a “buyer” to exchange five pounds of methamphetamine for $20,000.

Agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension watched as Herron drove to a storage locker in Apple Valley to get the drugs. At the arranged meet, a criminal informant and an undercover agent met him and exchanged $5,000 (packaged to look like $20,000) for the drugs.

As Herron drove away, he was pulled over by a Minnesota State Patrol officer and arrested.

After securing a search warrant for the storage locker, police found about 1 pound of suspected cocaine, 9 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of fentanyl, about 6,300 pressed pills suspected to contain fentanyl, a 9-mm pistol and about $140,000 in cash.

A search warrant executed at Herron’s residence revealed two high-end electronic money counters, suspected marijuana and approximately $10,000 in cash.

According to court documents, Herron admitted that he sells a lot of methamphetamine and that he purchases it from California. He denied owning the gun.

Of his prior convictions, one was in 2003 in Missouri for possessing a felony controlled substance. The other two, in 2012 and 2017 in Minnesota, were for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Herron made his first court appearance on three counts of aggravated controlled substance charges Friday.

Bail in the amount of $1 million without conditions and $50,000 with conditions was set by Dakota County District Court Judge Arlene Perkkio.

Herron’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 10 in Hastings. The Department of Corrections has a hold on Herron based on his 2017 conviction in Hennepin County. Even if he does post bail, he would go back to prison at this time.

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