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Charge: Minnesota man attacks witness at his job who testified against him

WILLMAR, Minn. – A 27-year-old Willmar man made his first court appearance Thursday for allegedly attacking a witness at his job who testified in a past drug case against him.

Paulo Natividad Portillo has been charged in Kandiyohi County District Court with one felony count of first-degree tampering with a witness – injured in retaliation, for an alleged incident June 21 at the Willmar Cash Wise Foods.

According to the court documents, Portillo and another individual approached the alleged victim at around 1:55 a.m. June 21 while the man was working at the store. Law enforcement viewed the security video of the incident and reported seeing Portillo get in the man’s face, who tried to step back. Portillo then swung at the man, hitting him on the left side of the head. The man again tried to back away from Portillo, who continued to come after him in a “fighting stance.”

The man reported to law enforcement that he had a box cutter on him, which he uses in his work, and he used it to try to keep Portillo away.

Portillo and the other individual finally turned to leave the store, but not before Portillo took another swing to try to hit the man.

The court documents say the man had provided law enforcement with information, and was a witness for the state, in cases involving both Portillo and the other individual.

The case involving Portillo took place in 2013. Portillo was convicted of a felony charge of second-degree drug sale and was sentenced to the Minnesota Department of Corrections for a period of 50 months. Portillo was released on supervised release in March, but already had an active fugitive warrant for violating the terms of his release.

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