ALBUQUERQUE – Bryan C. Lawson, 22, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to a cocaine trafficking charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) arrested Lawson in March 2018, after finding approximately 274 grams of methamphetamine in Lawson’s vehicle during a routine traffic stop. According to the complaint, Lawson was on supervised release for a prior methamphetamine trafficking felony conviction at the time of his arrest.
During today’s proceedings, Lawson pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Lawson admitted that on March 18, 2018, in Dona Ana County, N.M., he possessed approximately 223.6 grams of methamphetamine inside the vehicle he was driving when he was stopped by LCPD officers. Lawson also admitted that it was his intention to distribute the drugs to others.
At sentencing, Lawson faces an enhanced penalty of a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum of life, instead of the otherwise applicable five to 40 years of imprisonment, because of his prior felony drug trafficking conviction. Lawson remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA, the Las Cruces Police Department and the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, HSI and the New Mexico State Police. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.