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New Richmond man charged after massive marijuana bust in Town of Troy

Law enforcement authorities say they seized nearly 60 pounds of marijuana with a street value of roughly $240,000 during a drug bust in a Town of Troy driveway late Monday night, Dec. 8.

Two St. Croix County men were arrested and charged with a felony for intent to deliver marijuana: Tyler T. Bantley, 22, of the Town of Kinnickinnic, and Zachariah M. Albert, 24, of New Richmond.

The arrests and seizures were made by the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force.

The shipment of several duffel bags of pot was said to come from Eureka, Calif.

According to the criminal complaint, a vehicle driver making the shipment was stopped and searched by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

The California shipment was said to be bound for the River Falls area.

The driver allegedly agreed to cooperate with authorities, continue his journey and be part of a planned drug bust. Phone calls with his River Falls contact were monitored.

A River Falls police investigator was briefed about the impending deal, which was supposed to occur in the Walmart parking lot in Hudson. Police surveillance was set up.

The complaint says the driver of the California pot shipment was given a body wire. Two suspects in a white 2003 Dodge Dakota pickup truck with Wisconsin plates arrived in the Walmart parking to meet him.

The two vehicles then allegedly left and went to the driveway of a house at 248 Glenmont Road in the Town of Troy. There the marijuana exchange was allegedly made.

Afterward both vehicles drove off to another location to get the money to pay for the pot delivery.

Marked squad cars made a traffic stop just before 10 p.m. on County Road M west of River Falls.

Bantley, the pickup truck driver, and Albert, his passenger, were cuffed and taken to jail.

Their truck was taken to St. Croix County’s evidence garage and sealed up.

Bantley and Albert refused to talk and asked for a lawyer.

Both are scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

Conviction for their Class E felony would result in a maximum penalty of $50,000 fine and 15 years in prison.

St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson called the pot seizure the most significant in recent memory and the biggest he had seen made in the area in his 19 years on the job.

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation was also involved in this incident, having alerted River Falls police about the pot shipment.

The criminal complaint lists two other suspects still under investigation in this case from the Town of Troy.