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Chatfield man sentenced for selling meth in Austin

A 23-year-old Chatfield man has been sentenced to more than three years in jail after being convicted of selling methamphetamine last March to a confidential informant working with Austin police.

Lucas James Ernst pleaded guilty Jan. 13 in Mower County District Court to felony third-degree drug possession. An additional count of second-degree drug sale was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Judge Fred Wellmann sentenced him Monday to 39 months in prison.

According to the criminal complaint against Ernst, the charges stemmed from an incident that began on March 15, when an Austin police detective met with a confidential informant who indicated that Ernst was a meth dealer with some of the illegal drug for sale.

Ernst allegedly told the informant to meet him that day at a business on 14th Street Northwest near Interstate 90 in Austin to sell an "eight-ball" — one-eighth of an ounce or 3.5 grams — of meth for $400.


A law-enforcement surveillance team watched as a woman drove into the business' parking lot, dropped off Ernst and drove to another parking lot on the other side of I-90. Ernst allegedly got in the informant's car, where they completed a drug transaction before the informant drove Ernst to the woman's car.

The informant then turned over about 3.6 grams of meth to police from the purchase.

Ernst has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for felony domestic assault, terroristic threats and motor vehicle theft, dating back to 2005.

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