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Washington shop owner accused of trading drugs for iPods

The owner of a well-known repair shop in northwest Washington has been charged with a drug crime, according to police. Reports say the Bellingham man, a Macintosh and iPod computer technician, was arrested on suspicion of accepting Apple products in exchange for cocaine. During the past month, the 36-year-old shop owner traded small amounts of cocaine to an undercover detective, according to a Bellingham police sergeant.

The detective had established a business relationship with the technician over a four month time period, in which he sold iPhones and iPods to the technician. The relationship was established by police following the earlier receipt of several drug-related complaints against the technician. The detective received cocaine, valued at roughly street value, in exchange for iPhones and iPods, the reports said.

The business relationship came to an end around 3 p.m. Friday when the technician was arrested at his shop. He is accused of trading cocaine and will be charged with three counts of cocaine delivery, according to reports. The repair shop, which had been in business for about eight years, advertised refurbished Apple products for cheap prices and quick repairs for cracked touchscreens. The repair shop had been rated fairly high by Google reviewers.

It's not clear what the drug-related complaints made to the police were that started this investigation. The shop owner may be able to use an entrapment defense. If the undercover officer enticed him to exchange the drug for the electronics, the undercover officer may have been responsible for the crime occurring. Entrapment can be difficult to argue in court; however, many criminal defense attorneys have successfully used this argument to have cases against their clients dismissed.

Source: The Bellingham Herald, "Owner of Bellingham repair shop accused of trading cocaine for iPods", Caleb Hutton, December 13, 2013

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