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Drug sale charge dismissed, judge rules deal was entrapment

WILLMAR -- A first-degree drug sale charge against Earl Hoting, 37, of Willmar, was dismissed Aug. 4 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Judge Michael J. Thompson dismissed the charge -- for two sales of 3.1 grams and 14.4 grams of meth to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant on July 15, 2009 -- after determining that Hoting was entrapped into selling the drugs. According to the order, Hoting repeatedly refused to sell the informant drugs before succumbing to pressure to provide the informant with methamphetamine.

"The state failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the ready willingness to sell meth," the order notes.

The order was issued after a June 25 court trial on a defense motion to allow an entrapment defense.

During that trial, Hoting and the informant testified that they knew each other for 15 years, had previously participated in drug deals with each other and that the informant had once assaulted Hoting over an unpaid drug debt.

Hoting had also testified that he had stopped using drugs, gotten a good job and gotten married in the last several years.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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