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Task force arrests local mid-level drug dealer; seizes meth

By buseman, Jul 3, 2010 | |
  1. buseman
    LEE ACRES — Local law enforcement agents seized a half-pound of methamphetamine worth nearly $30,000, other illegal drugs and firearms during the execution of a search warrant Thursday in Lee Acres, officials said Friday.

    Curtis Ray Williams and Jessica Stopani were arrested during the search at the mobile home on County Road 5455 on Thursday around 6 p.m. The pair are charged with distribution of marijuana, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of a weapon by a felon.

    Williams also was arrested on a federal warrant for illegal possession of a firearm as a felon.

    Agents from the Region II Narcotics Task Force, U.S. Marshals, Farmington Police Department and San Juan County Sheriff's Office confiscated the methamphetamine with an estimated street value around $28,000, more than 300 illegal prescription pills, $13,000 in cash and three firearms.

    The arrest of Williams and Stopani was more significant than the amount of drugs recovered, according to Region II Narcotics Sgt. Brice Current.

    We've had bigger seizures, but we've been targeting this trafficking organization for a while, and last night they were disabled, Current said.

    Task force director Lt. Neil Haws said it was not decided yet whether Williams would be tried for the drug charges in New Mexico district court or whether charges will be filed in federal court by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

    We don't know if (the ATF) will or not, but if they did it would involve significant jail time, Haws said.

    The presence of illegal prescription drugs in the seizure reflects the growing issue of their abuse in San Juan County, the Region II director said.

    The pills are definitely a problem around here. We call it diversion, where you divert legal prescription pills for illegal purposes, Haws said.

    Current said that the task force has taken steps to combat the spread of illegal prescription drugs by working with community groups, such as the San Juan Safe Communities Initiative.

    It's a big problem in the schools, so we're working with different groups in the community to try and curb that, Current said.


    By Patrick Hogan
    07/03/2010
    http://www.daily-times.com/ci_15434174

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