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Appellate court decision issued in Murray County

SLAYTON -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued an opinion Tuesday affirming the conviction of Agapito Vallejo Jr., who went on trial in July 2008 for first-degree sale of a controlled substance.

Vallejo was charged in October 2007 after allegedly selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant (CI). When the case came to trial in 2008, it took the jury less than an hour of deliberation before finding Vallejo guilty.

During the proceedings, Vallejo's attorney told the jury it was their job to determine whether an individual paid by law enforcement was credible.

The appeal, filed in March 2009, questioned the admission of testimony from a drug task force agent regarding the CI's reliability, stating the agent's testimony was inadmissible hearsay and violated Vallejo's Sixth Amendment right to confrontation.

A second appeal point by Vallejo asserted the district court erred in allowing the CI to testify that Vallejo sold drugs on the streets of Willmar. Also in contention was a statement in a transcript that the CI told the agent Vallejo had a gun and would "shoot you just like that."

"The verdict itself, along with the strong evidence of guilt, demonstrates the outcome of the case was not affected by the admission of the CI's statement to (the agent)," the appellate opinion states.

According to the criminal complaint, a detective in Willmar contacted the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force with information that a CI was willing to make a controlled buy of meth from Vallejo. The purchase took place in Iona after an unsuccessful attempt in Fulda. Inside the Iona residence, the CI traded $600 in marked buy money for approximately 14 grams of meth.

The buy took place in August 2007, and Vallejo was arrested two months later after being under surveillance. When escorted into an interview room, Vallejo stated he wasnted a lawyer and told the agents they would be wasting their time trying to talk to him.

Currently being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes, Vallejo was admitted to prison in December 2008. He has an anticipated release date of July 2, 2012.

Vallejo was convicted of liability of a drive-by shooting in 2002 and sentenced to 58 months in prison.

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