NEW ULM, Minn. – A 41-year-old man from rural Winthrop was found guilty of five felony drug sale/possession charges by a Brown County District Court jury on Dec. 15. James Matthew Pautz was convicted of various drug offenses including first-degree drug sale of methamphetamine, second-degree drug sale of a narcotic drug, third-degree narcotic sale, third-degree possession of a narcotic, and fifth-degree drug possession. Pautz is scheduled for an in-person sentencing hearing on Jan. 29.
The conviction stems from a controlled purchase conducted by the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force (MRVDTF) on May 26, 2021. The confidential reliable informant (CRI) bought 7 grams of methamphetamine from Pautz for $200 while sitting in his vehicle. The CRI reported that Pautz gave him more than the requested amount and demanded an additional $150. The substance was later confirmed to be methamphetamine and weighed 16.3 grams. Pautz was known to possess a significant amount of meth and conducted drug transactions at his residence and from his vehicles.
Pautz was arrested on June 2, 2021, at a Winthrop business by MRVDTF agents with the assistance of the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office. During the arrest, Pautz was found in possession of meth weighing 8.9 grams and $1,650 in cash. A subsequent search warrant executed at Pautz’s rural Winthrop residence led to the discovery of new packaging materials, 2.1 grams of meth, and a scale.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) confirmed the substance seized on May 26, 2021, to be 13.842 grams of meth, while the substances collected on June 2, 2021, weighed 10.025 grams. Pautz has a previous conviction for a second-degree controlled substance crime in 2014 in Sibley County Court and was sentenced to 58 months in the Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections.
In conclusion, James Matthew Pautz, a resident of Winthrop, Minnesota, has been found guilty of multiple drug sale/possession charges. The conviction was based on evidence obtained from a controlled purchase conducted by the MRVDTF. Pautz’s sentencing is scheduled for January 29, where he could face severe penalties for his involvement in drug-related activities. This conviction highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat drug trafficking in the region.