Farmington man faces drug trafficking charges

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — A Farmington man previously convicted of felony drug charges is facing new charges after police officers allegedly found more than 300 prescription pills inside his vehicle.

Neil Eston Tucker

Neil Tucker, 55, was charged with second-degree felony distribution/possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (second or subsequent offense) and a misdemeanor drug violation on Feb. 6 in Farmington Magistrate Court, according to court records.

His preliminary examination is set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Public defender Ruth Wheeler, Tucker's attorney, did not response to requests for comment.

Tucker has previously pleaded no contest to charges, including to a second-degree felony drug trafficking charge on April 21, 2010, in district court, according to court records.

He also pleaded no contest to a third-degree felony drug charge and second-degree felony trafficking controlled substance charge on Feb. 14, 2005, according to court records.

Tucker was found guilty of a felony trafficking controlled substance charge on March 9, 1999, after violating his probation from a plea agreement from 1998, according to San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.

Prescription pain pills later identified as a Schedule II controlled substance were found in a vehicle registered to Tucker, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

During a search of Tucker's vehicle on Feb. 8 by the Farmington Police Department, four plastic bags were found that contained between four and 35 white, oval-shaped pills, according to court paperwork. More than 300 pills prescribed to Tucker were found inside bottles in the vehicle, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Two muscle relaxant pills also were found but are not labeled as a controlled substance.

The vehicle was impounded and searched after Tucker initially was found unresponsive on Feb. 6 in the parking lot of the adult probation and parole office for the New Mexico Corrections Department at 1640 E. Cedar St. in Farmington, according to court paperwork.

The Farmington police and fire departments responded to the scene, and Tucker was transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center after he became conscious but was left dazed and confused.

An officer at the scene said he had seen Tucker take a handful of plastic bags containing pills and place them in the center console of the vehicle before being transported, according to the court paperwork. The pills were later determined to be the prescription medication previously cited.

Tucker remained in custody today at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.