Warrant issued for meth dealer

Published 9:45 am Friday, June 25, 2010

A 22-year-old man with an unknown address is wanted on a Mower County warrant for allegedly selling methamphetamine to a police informant.

The warrant and a criminal complaint against Lucas James Ernst were filed Thursday in district court. He faces two felony drug charges.

According to the complaint, Austin police spoke with a confidential informant on March 15 about Ernst. The informant said he had a phone number for Ernst, who he described as a meth dealer.

Police provided the informant with “buy” money and wired him with audio recording equipment. He was then instructed to meet Ernst at the McDonald’s on 14th Avenue, which is where Ernst and the informant had discussed making the deal.

With the informant waiting in a vehicle, Ernst pulled up in a maroon car driven by a woman, the complaint states. Ernst was dropped off, and the maroon vehicle drove across the road to the Target parking lot.

Ernst then got into the informant’s car and sold him 3.6 grams of meth for $400, the complaint states. With the deal done, Ernst instructed the man to drive him to his vehicle in the Target parking lot, which he did. Police later obtained surveillance footage of Ernst being dropped off in the Target parking lot, according to the complaint.

Police met with the informant after the operation, and he was able to positively identify Ernst from a driver’s license photo.

According to records, the car Ernst arrived in is registered to an Albert Lea woman who is known to associate with Ernst. Both have prior “drug-related involvement,” the complaint states.