HOLBROOK - A 26-year-old Snowflake man will be spending three and a half years in the Arizona State Prison for the attempted sale of a pound of marijuana, thanks to an alert parent and the Navajo County Attorney's tough new drug policy.
Donald James Lindquist was sentenced to prison by Superior Court Judge Carolyn Holliday after he pled guilty to the attempted sale under a plea agreement offered by Navajo County prosecutor Marque French.
An Arizona statute classifies marijuana-related crimes as felonies rather than misdemeanors if the amount of the drug exceeds a specified quantity. These are called "over-the-threshold" cases. The attempted sale of less than two pounds is a Class 3 felony, while two pounds or more is a Class 2 felony.
County Attorney Brad Carlyon implemented a new policy for all drug cases when he took office in January. Plea offers by Carlyon's prosecutors must include prison time in all drug cases involving the possession, sale or attempted sale of a quantity over the statutory threshold.
"This is my policy for all illegal drugs," Carlyon said. "Anyone with a quantity over the threshold is more than a casual user, and anyone holding this quantity for sale is a significant contributor to the drug problem in Navajo County."
Lindquist's path to prison began when an alert parent became suspicious of text messages being received on a cell phone that had belonged to her son. She turned over the phone to the Snowflake Police Department, where an officer notified the Navajo County Major Crimes Apprehension Team and exchanged drug-related messages with two senders for more than two weeks.
The Snowflake officer eventually arranged to buy a pound of marijuana for $900. An undercover officer assigned to MCAT by the Arizona Department of Public Safety then met Lindquist and another Snowflake man, Brian Wayne Rollins, 22, in the parking lot of Ed's Shopping Center.
Lindquist and Rollins asked the DPS officer to meet them at the Fairway Manor Apartments, where they said the marijuana was located.
After receiving the $900, Lindquist disappeared into an apartment, promising to return with the marijuana. Police arrested him as he reportedly attempted to flee out the back door, where another DPS officer assigned to MCAT was waiting.
A cell phone containing the text messages that the Snowflake police had been monitoring was found in Lindquist's possession. Police reportedly found Rollins in another apartment and arrested a few minutes later. His case is still pending.
"The real hero here is the Snowflake mother who cared enough about her son to take the bold step of turning the cell phone over to police," Carlyon said.
"With this kind of community involvement and support, I'm committed to making sure that significant contributors to our county's drug problem spend time in prison."