It was shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday when agents from the Dakota County Drug Task Force pounded on the door of a townhouse on River Woods Lane in Burnsville.
“Police! Search warrant!” they yelled before one of the occupants came to the door.
Inside the home, they found 24 bags of meth totaling more than 12 pounds, along with more than $16,000 in cash and three handguns.
Albert Morris Johnson, who operates a barbershop on Cliff Road in Burnsville, which investigators also searched, was charged Friday with first-degree drug sales and possession, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm with an altered or removed serial number. All the crimes are felonies.
Johnson has a 2009 conviction for second-degree assault in Sherburne County, making it illegal for him to have a gun.
County Attorney Jim Backstrom said the drug and weapons charges will be submitted to the U.S. attorney’s office for potential federal charges. If Johnson is prosecuted in federal court, the state charges will be dismissed, Backstrom said.
The criminal complaint filed on Friday doesn’t say why authorities suspected Johnson of selling meth. The drugs seized at his home had a street value of more than $400,000, the County Attorney’s Office said.
Johnson and a woman at the home were put in handcuffs and placed on the living room sofa while investigators searched the home. A teenager and a 1-year-old child were also there at the time.
The woman agreed to talk with police and told them the drugs were not hers and that she didn’t know they were in the house. She said the money found in the bedroom was Johnson’s, the complaint said.
No drugs were found in a search of Johnson’s barbershop at 2:50 a.m. that morning, but several other items, including a “suspected drug note,” were taken, the complaint said.
According to the World Health Organization, meth is second only to marijuana as the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and it is the most prevalent synthetic drug manufactured in the United States. It can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken by mouth.
Over time, users of the highly addictive drug need more and more to get the same effect. The drug causes, among other things, organ damage, tremors or convulsions, irreversible damage to the blood vessels in the brain, breathing problems, memory problems and insomnia.
PAT PHEIFER | Star Tribune
May 3, 2013
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