Panel rejects appeal by drug kingpin convicted of murder

June 3, 2019

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal circuit court has rejected the appeal of a Minnesota man convicted of running a wide-ranging methamphetamine operation and ordering the killing of a man in North Dakota.

Modesto Torrez, of Angus, Minnesota, was sentenced in 2017 to two life prison terms after a jury convicted him of numerous charges, including drug conspiracy and murder.

Authorities say Torrez ordered the hit of 24-year-old Austin Forsman in March 2016 while Forsman sat in a vehicle at a Grand Forks truck stop. Then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch decided against seeking the death penalty against Torrez.

Thirteen people were indicted the conspiracy to distribute large quantities of meth in North Dakota and Minnesota.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Torrez’s arguments in a ruling released Friday.

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