A three-day jury trial for a Bellevue man accused of trafficking methamphetamine is scheduled to conclude today.
Raul Amado-Duarte, 27, allegedly sold 28 grams or more of methamphetamine to a confidential informant in October. He was arrested on Oct. 18 and has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge.
If found guilty and given the maximum punishment, Amado-Duarte could spend life in prison for delivery of the methamphetamine.
In addition, Amado-Duarte is facing deportation. He is subject to a hold from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, prosecutor Matt Fredback said during Amado-Duarte’s initial appearance on Oct. 18.
According to Fredback’s opening statement Wednesday afternoon in 5th District Court in Hailey, Amado-Duarte worked with the confidential informant and allegedly said he could sell the confidential informant up to 4 ounces of methamphetamine. Fredback went on to explain who the confidential informant was, and how he became involved with the multi-agency Narcotics Enforcement Team in Blaine County.
Fredback and Blaine County Sheriff’s Detective Kristen Quinton, the lead detective on the case, explained that the confidential informant was brought into the Sheriff’s Office sometime last fall after allegedly selling two small amounts of methamphetamine to a separate informant. The confidential informant was given the choice of being prosecuted on two charges of delivery of methamphetamine or working as an informant to possibly receive amended charges or a complete dismissal of the case.
According to a probable-cause affidavit written by Quinton, a controlled buy—in which a confidential informant is wired, given cash to make the drug purchases and later identifies the suspect he or she made the purchase from—occurred on Oct. 9 at the Chevron gas station in Bellevue. During that buy, Amado-Duarte allegedly sold $1,300 of meth, roughly two ounces.
During a cross examination of Quinton on Thursday, McCarthy apparently sought to create uncertainty over how Quinton was able to visually determine that Amado-Duarte was in fact the person who sold the drugs to the confidential informant, because the sale was done around 9 p.m. in a minimally lit area of the gas station parking lot. Quinton testified that she could only clearly identify the confidential informant based on what he was wearing and identified the vehicle Amado-Duarte was allegedly driving based on a photo that the confidential informant had taken earlier that day.
McCarthy also questioned Quinton’s probable-cause affidavit. Quinton initially testified that a Nik test—commonly used in the field to identify substances suspected of being illegal drugs—was not completed on the alleged methamphetamine after it was taken from the confidential informant following the controlled buy. Had she done so, she would have photographed the results and placed them with evidence, she told the court on Thursday.
However, the probable-cause affidavit states that a Nik test was completed and gave a presumptively positive result for methamphetamine. McCarthy shared that discrepancy in court and Quinton ultimately stated that she didn’t remember whether a test had been done on the substance, adding that she may have made a mistake on the probable-cause affidavit.
Ultimately, the substances were sent to the state lab and the results were positive for methamphetamine.
A lab technician with the state laboratory that tests substances for all law enforcement in the state was scheduled to testify on Friday morning prior to closing arguments.