Appeals court rejects Swift County defendant's claim of entrapment
BENSON — The Swift County District Court rejected Humberto Acevedo Jr.'s claim that persistent badgering by a confidential informant seeking to buy drugs from him amounted to entrapment, and in a post-trial order the District Court upheld his convictions by a jury on first- and second-degree charges of controlled substance sales.
Acevedo, 36, appealed the March 2017 convictions, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court and rejected his argument in a ruling issued Monday.
The Court of Appeals upheld the convictions and cited the testimony Acevedo made on his own behalf during the two-day trial in Swift County District Court.
During the trial, the defendant had argued that the confidential informant repeatedly asked to buy drugs from him. The informant pressed the request when he learned that Acevedo's car had broken down. He offered to lend his own car to Acevedo.
The District Court determined that Acevedo had satisfied one part of the burden of claiming entrapment in showing that the state had induced the commission of the crime.
But both the District Court and Court of Appeals determined entrapment does not occur if there is evidence to show that the defendant was "predisposed to sell and to possess methamphetamine.''
In his testimony during the trial, Acevedo called himself a "middle man'' in arranging the sale from a supplier. He made money on the transaction. He also admitted to prior use, possession and sales of drugs, including the use of methamphetamine with the confidential informant.
The Court of Appeals stated in a memorandum accompanying its decision that the evidence was "more than sufficient to prove that Acevedo was predisposed to commit the offense of which he was convicted.''
He was sentenced to 95 months in prison on the Swift County convictions.