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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 2, 2018

Owner and Operator of Carlsbad Smoke Shop Pleads Guilty to Sale of Drug Paraphernalia Charges

ALBUQUERQUE – Leon Conaway, 56, of Carlsbad, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to charges arising out of the sale and offering for sale of drug paraphernalia.  Conaway’s plea agreement recommends a sentence of three years of probation.

Conaway, the owner and operator of Twisted Roots, a smoke shop in Carlsbad, was arrested in Jan. 2018, on a two-count indictment charging him with selling and offering for sale drug paraphernalia on May 16, 2016 and July 12, 2016, in Eddy County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Conaway pled guilty to the charges in the indictment.  In entering his guilty plea, Conaway admitted that on May 16, 2016, he sold three glass pipes that are designed for smoking methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.  Conaway also admitted that on May 16, 2016 and June 12, 2016, he had a large quantity of drug paraphernalia displayed for sale at his business, Twisted Roots. 

In his plea agreement, Conaway also admitted that on July 12, 2016, federal law enforcement agents seized the following items that Conaway displayed for sale at Twisted Roots: approximately 1,127 assorted smoking instruments, including bongs, glass pipes used for smoking marijuana and glass pipes used for smoking methamphetamine; 17 assorted marijuana grinders; seven roach clips; 22 scales; and a large quantity of jewel bags that are used in the distribution of controlled substances.  Conaway admitted that he knew the merchandise he sold and offered for sale at Twisted Roots was likely to be used with illegal drugs. 

A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated March 2, 2018