UPDATE: Suspects found with nearly 300 pounds of pot indicted on - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Suspects found with nearly 300 pounds of pot indicted on federal charges

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(WQOW) - Two people busted with hundreds of pounds of pot have been indicted on federal charges. 

Joel Helding and Valerie Flores were caught near Osseo in January after trying to outrun officers in separate vehicles. 

A search of those vehicles turned up nearly 300 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $1.8 million. 

If convicted, they face a minimum mandatory federal prison sentence of five years, and a maximum penalty of 40 years. 
 


(WQOW) - The two suspects, arrested after nearly 290 pounds of pot was found in their vehicles, have been formally charged.

Joel Helding and Valerie Flores each face four felony charges in Trempealeau County following the incident on Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, state troopers pulled over the pair near Osseo. Officials said they took off in different directions, trying to outrun police. 

Police said Helding drove down a dead end road. He then ran roughly 200 feet into a wooded area before he was apprehended by police.

State troopers said in their report that a pit maneuver was used on Flores' vehicle. It caused her vehicle to crash into a ditch. 

According to the criminal complaint, weapons were found in both vehicles. Also in those vehicles, troopers found 286 pounds of marijuana. The estimated street value is more than $1.8 million. 

Flores and Helding will make their initial appearance before a Trempealeau Co. judge on February 6. If convicted of all charges, Flores faces more than 30 years in prison. Helding faces more than 38 years in prison.
 



(WQOW) - Approximately 290 pounds of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, three firearms and two stun guns were recovered after two separate chases that started near Osseo on Thursday.

On Thursday, January 18, DCI Agents and members of the Marathon County Special Investigations Unit requested assistance from the Wisconsin State Patrol in stopping two vehicles suspected of transporting a large amount of illegal drugs and other items.

Joel Helding, 32, from Tomahawk, fled westbound into Osseo. After a short pursuit he exited his car and tried to run away. Troopers were able to arrest him without incident.

A second person, Valerie Flores, 25, from Wausau, fled eastbound on Hwy 10 and led officers on a 30-mile chase through Trempealeau, Jackson, Eau Claire and Clark Counties. Flores turned onto Hwy B in Clark County where the State Patrol was able to perform a pit maneuver to make the vehicle stop.

Both drivers were booked into the Trempealeau County Jail for DOC warrants, felony eluding, possession with intent to deliver THC, felon in possession of a firearm, and other misdemeanor and traffic charges.

The Marathon County Special Investigations Unit is made up of members of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, Wausau Police Department and Everest Metro Police Department.

Four units from the State Patrol along with units from Osseo police, Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office and Strum police assisted DCI and the Marathon County Special Investigations Unit in attempting to stop both suspect vehicles near Osseo.

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