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FARMINGTON — A Farmington methamphetamine dealer was sentenced Monday to 17 years in prison for a drug trafficking conviction.

Lindsey Joe Brown, 40, was sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales, San Juan County District Attorney Rick Tedrow and other law enforcement officials announced in a joint news release.

The lengthy prison sentence came after Brown was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2012, said Neil Haws, the director of the Region II Narcotics Task Force. Federal convictions can carry significantly longer prison sentences than those handed down by state courts, Haws said.

"He won't be back for a long time," Haws said. "He was a pretty significant drug dealer in the day and we really appreciate (the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico) for taking the case."

In October 2011, Brown made plans to buy a large quantity of methamphetamine to sell to an informant who was working with law enforcement, according to court documents.

Brown drove to Cuba, N.M., where he purchased a tightly wrapped bag of methamphetamine that was placed in a Crown Royal bag and a stereo speaker box, which Brown stored in the trunk of his Ford Mustang, according to court documents.

Law enforcement officers followed Brown to Cuba and watched the transaction, according to court documents.

Brown was stopped and searched by law enforcement later that night in San Juan County. Police found more than 200 grams of methamphetamine in his trunk. Methamphetamine sells for about $150 per gram on the street and the amount found in Brown's trunk was worth approximately $30,000 on the street, Haws said. Police also found a loaded handgun in Brown's vehicle. He wasn't legally allowed to posess the gun due to a previous felony conviction. Brown pleaded guilty in March 2013 to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and a firearms charge. As a condition of his plea agreement, Brown was also required to turn over the keys to his Mustang to the state of New Mexico. "I hope (the prison sentence) serves as a deterrent," Haws said.


Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel