A St. Cloud man, Daniel Joseph McNinch, age 48, has pleaded guilty to first degree drug sales for a raid that happened at an Onamia residence earlier in the year.
The drug charge was added through an amended complaint with the plea allowing three other weapons charges to be dismissed.
According to the criminal complaint:
Investigators with the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force learned that McNinch was distributing methamphetamine in the central Minnesota area and routinely selling meth from his St. Cloud residence.
On Jan. 21, 2021, investigators conducted an undercover purchase of 30.7 grams of methamphetamine from McNinch in Stearns County. As the case progressed, investigators learned that McNinch was storing and likely selling methamphetamine from a secondary residence he owned on 100th Ave. in Onamia. Investigative sources revealed that he made frequent trips between his two residences and transported the drugs between the two locations as well.
On February 2, 2021, investigators conducted another controlled purchase of 57.2 grams of methamphetamine from McNinch, and again as part of the investigation, officers purchased another 57.3 grams of the drug.
As the surveillance operation continued, it became clear that McNinch was receiving wholesale quantities of methamphetamine through the mail and that it was not uncommon for McNinch to have multiple pounds of the drug in his possession at either residence or whichever vehicle he was using at the time.
In late March of 2021, investigators learned there was a package bound for McNicnh’s Onamia residence that contained 1,559.2 grams of methamphetamine. And on March 29, investigators, assisted by the Mille Lacs County SWAT team, executed a search warrant at the defendant’s Onamia residence. Officers located various amounts of methamphetamine, surveillance equipment, packaging materials, several cell phones, scales, tracking information for additional postal packages, ammunition, and $10,516.00 in cash at the Onamia residence.
Hidden in a plow truck on the property was a 1911 .45 caliber handgun with two loaded magazines and a Winchester model 94. Inside another vehicle, officers found a stolen .45 caliber handgun along with a bag of ammunition.
In total, investigators recovered 1,468.1 grams of methamphetamine during the operations.
McNinch has prior convictions for simple robbery in Ottertail County and possession and firearms/ammunition violations in Stearns County, along with pending offenses for drug possession and third degree burglary in Benton County.
Sentencing will take place on Oct. 4.