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Aided by neighbors, police arrest alleged Woodbury drug dealer

A 19-year-old Woodbury man who had become the target of neighbors' suspicions makes his initial court appearance this week on allegations that he sold drugs to minors out of his home.

Justin Allen Hanson, was charged last month with third-degree drug sales to a minor, a felony that carries a possible prison sentence.

Woodbury police were alerted to the case in March by several residents concerned with ongoing activity in the 7200 block of Braemar Lane.

According to a criminal complaint, the neighbors expressed "grave concern" for the situation, where juveniles had been witnessed arriving at the Hanson residence, and then meeting with the suspect for short periods of time.

The neighbors provided police with a spreadsheet documenting 104 short-term visits since December 2010.

During each occasion, Hanson would leave his residence, approach the vehicles and complete what the neighbors believed to be a transaction, the complaint states. On other occasions, Hanson would get out to go for brief rides with people who arrived at the residence.

Police conducted surveillance of the residence, where they allegedly witnessed male motorists arrive at the house. In both instances, the males entered the house and left shortly after.

Continued surveillance showed a van full of juvenile females - all later determined to be 16 years old - arrive at Hanson's residence, where one of the girls got out, entered the house and exited two minutes later with a tote bag. Police followed the van after it left and watched the driver smoke from a pipe.

The officers conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, who admitted that marijuana was present in the vehicle. The girl said the pot had been purchased from a male named Justin. A search of the van turned up nearly a gram of marijuana stashed in the tote bag witnessed being carried out of the Hanson house.

A passenger admitted to buying the marijuana from Hanson for $20.

Police arrested Hanson, who admitted in an interview with an investigator that he sells pot to friends. He said he buys the pot in 14-gram increments from his drug dealer and that police would find some in the pool table at his house.

A search of the residence turned up a digital scale with marijuana residue, a marijuana grinder and paraphernalia. Pot was found in the pool table.

Hanson, who was convicted last year of drug possession, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on the latest charges May 11.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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