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Minnesota man convicted on drug possession charges

A 38-year-old Minnesota man faces more than 12 years in prison after being convicted on counts of drug possession in the first and second degrees in a Morrison County court. The jury listened to evidence for three days but took less than an hour to return its verdict. The charges stem from a routine traffic stop on Highway 10 in February, and sentencing in the case is scheduled to take place on Dec. 6.

The jury heard how a Minnesota State Trooper pulled over a vehicle in Morrison County on Feb. 23 for having a cracked windshield. A records check revealed that an arrest warrant had been issued against the owner of the vehicle, and the man, who was traveling as a passenger at the time, was taken into custody. The trooper says that the female driver of the vehicle appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a subsequent search is said to have uncovered methamphetamine residue and a pipe allegedly used for smoking the drug.

A search of the vehicle yielded $4,900 in cash and a bag containing what appeared to be methamphetamine inside a pink box found close to where the man had been sitting. After a search warrant had been issued, a more rigorous search is said to have uncovered additional drugs in a green bag. The prosecutor said that the jury's quick verdict was a reflection of the evidence that had been gathered by law enforcement, and he praised the trooper who made the initial traffic stop for obtaining a search warrant.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge their clients to consider a plea agreement when the evidence against them is compelling. Trials are expensive and juries are unpredictable, and prosecutors working under heavy caseloads may be willing to reduce drug charge penalties in return for a speedy resolution.

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