Three arrested on drug charges

NEW ULM — Three individuals were arrested on drug charges after a long-term investigation by the Brown-Lyon-Redwood-Renville (BLR) Counties Drug Task Force.

Kendra Johnson, 32, Benjamin Yackel, 37 and Devon Kelley, 32, were all arrested on drug-related charges after a black Ford Expedition was pulled over Dec. 19 near Highway 29 in rural Brown County.

Yackel was first removed from the driver’s seat and was discovered to be carrying what was later determined as $4,579 in cash.

Yackel informed officers of a capped hypodermic needle in his jacket, which he was instructed to remove and drop on the ground.

Johnson was removed from the front passenger seat and after two attempts to pull away from the officer performing a weapon search was discovered to be carrying a bag of white crystals in her groin area, according to court documents.

The crystals later tested positive for methamphetamine. The bag unofficially weighed around 26 grams, including packaging, according to court documents.

Kelley was removed from the rear passenger-side seat and also arrested. Later at the jail, officers were alerted to a small bag of white crystals in his waistband that also tested positive for meth, weighing unofficially at 5.8 grams.

After obtaining a warrant officers searched the vehicle, which had been towed to the Brown County Secure evidence building.

Over two pounds of meth was found under the center console. The meth was valued at $81,000 when sold by the gram, according to a press release.

The full investigation resulted in the execution of five search warrants, four firearms seized and the seizure of prescription medication, cocaine and marijuana, according to the press release.

Two children have been removed from the residences where controlled substances were found and arrests were made.

Johnson was arrested on one first-degree charge of drug possession, 50 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine, and two warrants from two counties. She faces two other drug-related charges and an obstruction of legal process charge.

Yackel was arrested on one first-degree drug possession charge, possessing 50 grams or more of cocaine or meth, and one charge relating to possessing a hypodermic syringe.

Kelley was arrested on one first-degree drug charge, possession of 50 grams or more of cocaine or meth and one fifth-degree charge of possessing a “not small amount of marijuana,” according to the press release. He faces one additional warrant from Hennepin County.

Assisting in the operations were the following departments: the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Redwood County Sheriff’s Office and the Sleepy Eye Police Department.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at


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