Suspect was convicted of drug trafficking in 2014


FARMINGTON — A Farmington man has been arrested and accused of a second drug trafficking charge following an investigation by agents with the Region II Narcotics Task Force.

Paul Stonecipher, 44, was charged on Tuesday and accused of a first-degree felony count of trafficking controlled substance (by distribution or sale of narcotic drug), according to court records.

Ruth Wheeler, Stonecipher's public defender, did not respond to requests for comment.

Stonecipher was previously convicted of trafficking a controlled substance on Jan. 5, 2014, in Aztec District Court as part of a plea agreement, according to court records.

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Court documents show Stonecipher has been charged with a count of false information by seller to pawnbroker out of Colorado.

The Region II Narcotics Task Force launched an investigation into Stonecipher in September, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. The task force is comprised of investigators and officers from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Bloomfield Police Department, Aztec Police Department and the Farmington Police Department

An agent for the task force made a purchase of a white, crystalline substance in September at a residence in Farmington, according to court documents. The substance later tested positive for methamphetamine.  

The agent was allegedly contacted by Stonecipher on Sept. 13 to set up a time to meet at the residence. Later that day, the agent went to the residence to conduct the transaction.

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He allegedly spoke to Stonecipher at the residence while negotiating the transaction and later paid an undisclosed amount of money for an undisclosed amount of meth, according to court documents. The agent left the residence and later identified Stonecipher while reviewing mugshots.

Stonecipher was incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center as of Thursday afternoon on a no-bond hold.

A motion for pretrial detention was filed Oct. 24 by the San Juan County District Attorney's Office to continue holding Stonecipher with no bond. A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Stonecipher's preliminary hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Farmington Magistrate Court.

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

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