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Minnesota roundup: Woman sentenced for drugs found in bra; U of M Medical School's research ranking slips

GRAND FORKS—A Crookston, Minn., woman will spend more than three years behind bars after police found in her bra heroin she intended to sell.

Cynthia Esquivel, 45, was sentenced Monday, March 13, in Grand Forks District Court for possessing heroin with intent to manufacture or deliver, a Class A felony. The charge stems from a July 7 arrest at the Grand Forks Inn, according to court documents.

Esquivel, who was renting a room at the hotel, was on probation for a Polk County charge, but officers searched the room after they found out she had a "large amount of heroin."

When agents made contact with Esquivel, she pulled out a bag from her bra that contained 41 grams of heroin, court documents stated. She told agents she had sold about half an ounce of heroin in the days leading up to her arrest.

Esquivel had faced 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, but she signed a plea deal to be sentenced to six years in prison. Judge Jon Jensen suspended two years of that sentence, and she will be given eight months credit for time served.


Police: Man takes impounded truck with spare keys

MOORHEAD — Dilworth police are searching for a man who is accused of taking his own truck out of an impound lot after telling authorities he only wanted personal items from the vehicle.

Dilworth police said they were informed about 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 10, that a seized pickup had been stolen from an impound lot in north Moorhead.

Police determined that the owner of the pickup had arrived at the impound lot and asked for permission to remove personal items from the truck pending hearings connected to pending charges, as well as the vehicle seizure.

Once in the vehicle, Matthew Steven Krebs, 34, used a spare set of keys to drive away. A person who drove Krebs to the impound lot in a mini van also drove off.

Dilworth police said they are looking for Krebs, his 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup and the unknown driver of the mini van.

The truck's Minnesota license plate reads: "KREBSY."


U of M Medical School's research ranking slips

MINNEAPOLIS—The University of Minnesota Medical School's stature as a research institution tumbled in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The school now ranks 44th in the country for research, down from 35th a year ago. The rankings are based on grant funding, peer surveys, student-to-faculty ratios, and student admission test scores and acceptance rates.

University officials closely watch the lists, although U.S. News rankings are not on the Board of Regents' "progress card." The university does formally track National Institutes of Health grants as a key measure of school quality.

The regents' goal is to rank in the top 20 in NIH funding by 2021. The medical school last year ranked 33rd, down one spot from the previous year.

Regents have said the aborted M Health merger between the medical school and Fairview Health Services has limited its research potential.

Tuesday's U.S. News rankings did recognize the university's medical school as a leader in primary care and rural medicine. Both rankings improved two spots, to seventh and third, respectively.

The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, which has about one-fifth as many students as the university's medical school, moved up four spots to 20th on the research list and up one spot to 31st for primary care.


Minn. county commissioner was driver in fatal wrong-way crash

HARRIS, Minn.—The motorist who caused a fatal wrong-way driving crash on Interstate 35 last weekend north of the Twin Cities has been identified as a Chisago County commissioner.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol's report on the Saturday afternoon collision, Lora Walker, 47, of Stacy was driving north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Harris in Chisago County.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., her Chevrolet Equinox crashed head-on with a southbound Ford Fusion in the middle of the two driving lanes.

The Chevy came to a rest in the right-hand lane of traffic. The Ford caught fire after coming to a rest in the median.

The male driver of the Ford was pronounced dead at the scene. He had yet to be identified Monday.

According to KSTP-TV, Walker was in critical condition Monday at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

She has been a Chisago County commissioner for 10 years, KSTP said.