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03/14/2013

NM man pleads guilty to methamphetamine trafficking, firearms charges

Plea agreement requires that he serve 17 years in federal prison

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A local man pleaded guilty Thursday to methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges that resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The plea agreement requires Lindsey Joe Brown, II, 40, of Farmington, N.M., to serve 17 years in federal prison.

Brown was indicted in March 2012 and charged with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. According to the indictment, Brown committed these crimes in San Juan County, N.M., in October 2011. He has been in federal custody since his April 5, 2012 arrest.

On March 14, Brown pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, as well as the firearms offense. In his plea agreement, Brown admitted that on Oct. 26, 2011, he agreed to sell methamphetamine to a person, who – unbeknownst to him – was working as an informant.

Law enforcement officers conducted surveillance as Brown drove from Farmington to Cuba, N.M., where he purchased methamphetamine from his supplier. While Brown traveled back to Farmington, the officers obtained a search warrant for Brown's 2009 Ford Mustang. When the officers executed the search warrant, they found a box in the Mustang's trunk that contained more than 200 grams of methamphetamine. In the center console of the Mustang, the officers found a fully loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol and 9mm ammunition. Brown was arrested on state charges, which were later dismissed after Brown was arrested on federal charges.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Brown agreed to forfeit the Mustang used to transport the methamphetamine, and the firearm and ammunition found in his vehicle.

"Drug traffickers need to know that HSI special agents are working aggressively with our state and local law enforcement partners to reduce drug trafficking activity in New Mexico," said Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso. "These partnerships are further strengthened by our commitment and common goal for safer communities."

Lt. Neil Haws, director of region II Narcotics Task Force, thanked HSI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for their continued partnership with Region II and local agencies in San Juan County. "Lindsey Brown was a major methamphetamine supplier to our area, and this prison sentence will ensure that he will not be selling drugs in our community for a long time. It is also a reminder to other local drug dealers that we have state and federal partners in our efforts to investigate drug trafficking organizations and their members, and that we will aggressively pursue and prosecute them for their crimes," he said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Kenneth J. Gonzales commended HSI, the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office, and the Region II Narcotics Task Force for their work in this cooperative investigation and prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn W.Y. Wang is prosecuting this case; Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Weisman is handling the forfeiture proceedings.

HSI encourages the public to report any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. The online tip form may be accessed at this link: http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp