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Appeals court upholds possession conviction for informant caught with methamphetamine

WILLMAR — The State Court of Appeals has upheld a drug possession conviction, but reversed a drug sale conviction, against a Hutchinson man who was caught possessing methamphetamine and claimed he was continuing previous work as a confidential informant for a drug task force.

In an unpublished opinion issued Monday, the case of Travis Richard Hopp, 37, was remanded back to Renville County District Court for resentencing on the drug sale charge. His hearing was set for April 1 before District Judge Randall Slieter.

According to the appeals decision and court records, Hopp was charged in September 2011 with second-degree drug possession and drug sale. He was convicted of both charges in a January 2013 jury trial. He was sentenced in March 2013 to 58 months in prison on the drug sale charge.

According to the state Department of Corrections, Hopp is currently at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Willow River and his expected release date is in May.

According to the appeals court opinion, Hopp was stopped for driving after cancellation in February 2011 and told police he had information about drug sales he would share for a reduction or dismissal of the charge. He agreed to work as a cooperating individual for the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force and completed three controlled purchases for the drug task force in February and August 2011.

In September, a Renville County sheriff’s deputy went to a home in Hector looking for a fugitive and saw Hopp inside the home smoking a glass pipe. Hopp was arrested and searched, with the deputy finding 7.2 grams of meth, $403 in cash and drug paraphernalia. Hopp denied the drugs belonged to him and claimed he was trying to set up a controlled purchase. In the appeal, Hopp claimed he possessed the meth for his personal use.

In reversing Hopp’s conviction on the sale charge, the appeals court found that, based on the evidence presented, it was not unreasonable that Hopp possessed the 7.2 grams of meth for his personal use.

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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