Weather Forecast


Minnesota man pleads guilty to having cocaine during Grand Forks traffic stop

Ray Torres

A Minnesota man arrested last year in Grand Forks with marijuana and cocaine in his vehicle has admitted guilt in the case, prompting prosecutors to dismiss charges against his co-defendant.

Ray Richard Torres, 29, of West St. Paul, Minn., pleaded guilty Monday in Grand Forks District Court to a Class B felony of possessing cocaine with intent to deliver or manufacture and was sentenced to almost month behind bars. In exchange for a plea agreement, the Class B felony charge of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver or manufacture was dismissed.

Torres was stopped by the North Dakota Highway Patrol in October on Interstate 29 in Grand Forks, according to court documents. A state trooper said Torres was going 78 mph in a 75 mph speed zone.

Torres told the trooper he was going to visit his uncle in East Grand Forks, while his passenger, Richard Gamez, 33, of Plymouth, Minn., said they were going to Fargo. The stories didn't match and Torres appeared nervous, so the trooper called for a K-9 unit, court documents said.

The dog alerted to a black duffle bag that had 4 pounds of marijuana in it, according to court documents. Officers also found a quarter-pound of cocaine in the spare tire compartment, the court documents said.

Gamez faced the same charges as Torres, but prosecutors dismissed the case against him after Torres claimed full responsibility for the drugs. Torres said Gamez was just a passenger and had no control in the situation.

Torres was sentenced to 24 months in prison with 23 months suspended. He also was credited three days for time served.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248