WALKER -- The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the Cass County drug possession conviction of Warren Calvin Wasson, 48, Pequot Lakes.
After Wasson waived his right to a trial in 1998, Cass County Judge Michael J. Haas found Wasson guilty Nov. 19, 1998, of fifth-degree controlled substance crime (possession of methamphetamines).
The judge sentenced Wasson to serve 90 days in jail and to pay a $300 fine, but suspended the jail time pending Wasson's appeal.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed Haas' decision, but referred the case to the Supreme Court.
Wasson was arrested Oct. 3, 1997, when a no-knock search warrant was served by the Cass County Sheriff's Department on James Kenneth Meixner's Backus area residence. Meixner also was convicted and sentenced following service of that warrant.
Wasson claimed in his appeal there was not grounds for service of a no-knock warrant. Laws stipulate such a warrant may be executed only when there are grounds to believe peace officers may be in danger if they announced their presence before entering a home.
Meixner also had been arrested in June 1997 and convicted of a controlled substance crime. Guns had been confiscated at that time. An informant had purchased drugs from Meixner's home in September.
The Supreme Court found, on a split decision, those prior circumstances merit grounds for believing drug trafficking continued from the Meixner residence and there was reasonable suspicion of a safety threat to officers serving a warrant there.
While Meixner and Wasson were playing a board game on a coffee table at the time the warrant was served, the Supreme Court found there was not sufficient reason for the officers to change their plan to enter without knocking, because they had prior knowledge guns had been kept at the residence.
In fact, at the time of his arrest, Wasson had a knife in his belt, according to court records.
Drug paraphernalia and drugs were confiscated from Wasson's person at the time of his arrest.
Because the Minnesota Supreme Court has yet to return the case file to Cass County, the court administrator's office was unable to say Tuesday when Wasson would serve his 90-day sentence.
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