County District Court File No. 66-CR-16-575
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John L.
Fossum, Rice County Attorney, Terence J. Swihart, Assistant
County Attorney, Faribault, Minnesota (for appellant)
D. Metzger, Metzger & Nyberg, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Worke,
Judge; and Bratvold, Judge.
cause that a defendant was in actual possession of a
controlled substance can be established by circumstantial
pretrial appeal, the state challenges the district
court's order dismissing several controlled-substance
charges for lack of probable cause. Because the dismissal has
a critical impact on the state's case and the
circumstantial evidence provides sufficient probable cause to
believe that respondent physically possessed the controlled
substances, we reverse and remand.
March 2016, an agent with the Cannon River Drug and Violent
Offender Task Force (CRDVOTF) received information from a
confidential source (CS) that respondent Demarcus Barker was
planning a trip to Chicago to purchase cocaine and marijuana.
The CS told the agent that Barker asked the CS to go with him
to Chicago. The CS agreed. The CS drove a rented 2007 Nissan
Altima, and Barker drove a rented black Dodge Charger. The CS
allowed CRDVOTF to place a tracking device on the Nissan.
and Barker were in Chicago for four days. The CS remained in
contact with CRDVOTF during the trip and told agents that
Barker had obtained Ecstasy pills, that the pills looked like
they were purple and yellow, and that the pills were packaged
in bundles of 20 or more. The CS reported that Barker had
also obtained cocaine and marijuana.
March 14, Barker, along with his cousin, and the CS left
Chicago and headed back to Minnesota. Barker and his cousin
drove back in the Charger, and the CS drove separately in the
Nissan. The CS told CRDVOTF agents that during a stop on the
trip home, the CS had seen Ecstasy pills and marijuana in a
white plastic bag in the Charger's trunk. CRDVOTF agents
were also aware that there was an active felony warrant for
Barker's arrest on an unrelated matter, and the agents
arranged to have him arrested when he entered Rice County.
approximately 10:20 p.m., officers observed Barker's
vehicle traveling 87 mph in a 70-mph-zone along I-35 in Rice
County, Minnesota. The officers attempted to conduct a
traffic stop of Barker's vehicle. The Charger initially
slowed down, but then accelerated and fled at a high rate of
speed. Officers deactivated their emergency lights and
followed the Charger. At one point, an officer observed the
Charger stopped in the middle of the roadway. When the