MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – No charges will be filed against former Eden Prairie Detective Travis Serafin, whose falsified search warrant application in 2017 led to the dismissal of more than 30 cases in which he was involved, McLeod County Attorney Michael Junge announced Friday.
On Sept. 15, 2017, Minneapolis SWAT officers found the evidence prosecutors needed to send Timothy Holmes, an alleged drug dealer, to prison. While executing a search warrant, officers found a large amount of heroin and some fentanyl in the house and some drugs in a vehicle.
A signed warrant listed only the house. In preparing their case, prosecutors asked for the warrant covering the evidence seized in the vehicle. One week later, Serafin gave prosecutors a second warrant. However, authorities say he doctored the original to make it appear broader than authorized.
In October, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced more than 30 cases involving Serafin were being dismissed following the investigation of the search warrant and Serafin’s work on the case.
In his conclusion, Junge called the results of the investigation into Serafin’s alleged wrongdoing “distasteful.”
“An officer falsified an application for a search warrant and does not face criminal punishment. An officer intentionally gave false testimony and cannot be charged,” Junge said.
Holmes was charged with third-degree murder and first-degree sale of heroin in district court, but Holmes contested the legality of the search warrant during his hearing. After the hearing, a judge wrote a letter to the Eden Prairie police chief regarding Serafin’s possible false testimony.
The prosecutor later dismissed charges against Holmes and he was released from prison.
In the criminal investigation, Junge said Serafin did not commit forgery.
“For a forgery to be committed, genuine legal rights must be impacted. The alteration of the application does not do so,” Junge said.
Junge says Serafin did not commit perjury either because his false statement was not “material.” A statement is material if it affects decision making. Serafin’s warrant to search the house was legal even though the warrant for the vehicle was not.
Detective Serafin had been with Eden Prairie since 2000. In 2011, he was selected as the department’s Officer of the Year.
Serafin’s last day of employment with the Eden Prairie Police Department was Nov. 6.
WCCO has learned Hennepin County has since dismissed 46 cases where Serafin was a key witness.
Serafin’s attorney could not be reached for comment, and the city of Eden Prarie says because there are personnel matters still pending, the city cannot comment at this time.