Prison for convicted drug dealer

Published 7:32 am Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Chatfield man convicted of selling methamphetamine to a police informant last March was sentenced to 39 months in prison Monday in Mower County Court.

Lucas James Ernst, 23, was convicted of third-degree drug possession of over 3 grams methamphetamine.

According to the court complaint, Austin police spoke with a confidential informant on March 15, 2010, about Ernst. The informant said he had a phone number for Ernst, who he described as a meth dealer.

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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.

Reporter Mike Rose contributed to this report.