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Tipster leads to major drug bust of Minnesota woman

File art of police car lights

WILLMAR—A concerned tipster helped CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force agents apprehend a Willmar, Minn., woman suspected of possessing to sell nearly 90 grams of meth.

Last week, the citizen told the task force about short term traffic at an empty residence on Third Street Southwest in Willmar, citing concern about a white van.

Officers first followed up on the tip on Sept. 12, according to court documents.

Caitelyn Paige Traore, 23, was charged Sept. 15 in Kandiyohi County District Court with felonies for first-degree drug possession and sale.

According to the criminal complaint on the charges, task force agents observed the van briefly visiting the residence on Third Street.

They saw a female passenger appear to circle the block to check surroundings, then enter the residence for about three minutes. The woman then exited the front door of the home, carrying a large plastic laundry basket.

Once the van missed a turn signal onto Willmar Avenue, agents stopped the vehicle. The driver, an adult woman, appeared to be under the influence of meth, according to the criminal complaint. She reportedly admitted to smoking the substance the night before or early that morning, and gave the officers meth in a cloth and Ziploc bag from her bra and underwear.

It was at that point that authorities say Traore approached the vehicle, asking what was going on. She reportedly told agents she was the vehicle owner, and had recently purchased it for $450.

Before that point, court documents allege authorities had already observed paperwork marked with Traore's name inside the vehicle, along with drug ledgers, unused plastic bags, synthetic cannabinoid and a black metal safe inside a backpack in the vehicle.

Traore initially denied ownership of the backpack and anything in it. Agents impounded the car and took the woman who had been driving it into custody.

Officers later entered the safe with a search warrant, and discovered seven bags of meth and a digital scale.

After that, Traore met with task force agents for an interview, and reportedly confessed to owning the backpack, its contents and the methamphetamine.

She allegedly said she had received 9 oz., or 255 g of meth over the last few weeks, and had profited a few thousand dollars from it. She received the meth from three people beneath her in a drug organization, and has other people sell the drugs for her.

Traore was initially in custody at the Kandiyohi County Jail, but was released Tuesday on $10,000 bail.

Her next hearing in Kandiyohi County District Court is set for Oct. 10.

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