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Saying search was unauthorized, judge throws out drug charges

From staff reports

A district judge has thrown out drug charges against a 19-year-old Seattle man, saying police didn't have the authority to do a warrantless entry and search of the man's hotel room in July.

Tedros Leake-Gebremedhin was accused of trafficking kilos of cocaine from Seattle to Minnesota and was among three people arrested by local and federal authorities in July. All three were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree controlled substance crime and first-degree sale of cocaine.

But Steve Rolsch, the Rochester attorney for Leake-Gebremedhin, challenged the legality of the police entry and search that led to seizure of evidence and the man's arrest. Rolsch contended that his client merely was sleeping in the hotel room that night when police barged in and searched without permission.

The prosecution argued that officers had verbal permission from another person who had rented the room for Leake-Gebremedhin.

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But the judge said the prosecution did not demonstrate that the warrantless entry and search was justified under applicable caselaw.

The cases against the other two people remain open.

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