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Woman faces charge for 10 pounds of meth tied to Postal Service investigation

An Albert Lea woman who was allegedly receiving packages of methamphetamine in the mail from California is facing a charge of first-degree methamphetamine possession following an investigation by the United States Postal Service Investigation Unit, the South Central Drug Investigation Unit and local authorities.

Marivel Ramos

Freeborn County District Court documents state Marivel Ramos reportedly received packages at her address on Water Street containing vacuum-sealed bags of meth concealed in teddy bears. 

As part of a narcotics investigation, agents of the South Central Drug Investigation Unit confirmed with Postal Service investigators that suspicious packages were mailed to Ramos’s address on Water Street and that Ramos picked them up. She had reportedly had packages delivered about every 10 days for the previous six months, and each time the packages were similar in size — there would be one big package and a small one with blue tape. The court complaint specifically referenced packages delivered in late August through the middle of September.  

Court documents also reference an Aug. 23 package with a return address of the Water Street address that was seized in San Diego, California. It contained $65,000 cash. 

Court documents state three packages that were set to be delivered on Sept. 18 were intercepted with a federal search warrant on Sept. 17, and each was found to contain a teddy bear with what tested positive as meth. They weighed a combined 10.5 pounds. 

In the event the packages were accidentally distributed in the community, authorities replaced the meth with rock salt mixed with about 60 to 65 grams of meth added in each before putting them back in the mail.

On Sept. 18, a Postal Service investigator delivered the packages containing the teddy bears with the rock salt and meth mixture to the Water Street address, and Ramos reportedly picked them up and placed them in her SUV. 

After being detained and interviewed, Ramos reportedly initially denied to authorities that the packages were hers but later acknowledged that the teddy bears matched other stuffed animals in the home. She reportedly later admitted that she gets the packages but agreed with the suggestion that she was a “drop-off person,” according to court documents. She acknowledged that she had been doing it for six months and denied that anyone else was involved — as well as knowing who is sending the packages. 

She said she told her contact she didn’t want to do it anymore, and she swore that she didn’t know that the three packages were coming that day, court documents stated. 

The packages she received Sept. 18 contained a total of 4,938 grams — or 10.886 pounds of meth.

According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Minnesota Fusion Center, methamphetamine sold for about $6,000 by the pound in 2020. If it was sold by the gram outstate, the meth that day could have been worth about $355,000, while in the metro it could have been worth over $500,000. 

Ramos has been in the Freeborn County jail since her arrest Feb. 8. Unconditional bail is set at $150,000 while conditional bail is at $75,000. 

In court Thursday, Ramos’s lawyer requested a speedy omnibus hearing. 

If found guilty, Ramos faces a presumptive sentence of 65 months in prison. 

She is next slated to appear March 9.