Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mid-valley man admits to selling meth

Plea agreement excludes charges for alleged pipe bomb

Express Staff Writer

Benjamin C. Wagstaff

A 27-year-old mid-valley man could face up to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a drug dealing charge Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court.

Benjamin C. Wagstaff, one of five men charged with dealing drugs in a major Blaine County bust earlier this year, admitted to a single count of delivery of methamphetamine. He was originally charged with two counts of delivery of the drug and one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

In accord with a plea agreement, the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office will recommend that Wagstaff be sentenced to six years in prison, with two of them to be served before he is eligible for parole.

"Part of the plea agreement was that there not be any charges related to the alleged pipe bomb," said Hailey attorney Douglas Werth, who was appointed public defender.

Werth was referring to a small device consisting of explosives inside a small piece of PVC pipe that was allegedly found at Wagstaff's home at 249 Alturas Dr. when Wagstaff was arrested by the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement team on Feb. 25.

The device was exploded by a bomb team from the Twin Falls Police Department. Federal authorities were earlier investigating the possibility of illegal explosives charges against Wagstaff.

Wagstaff's guilty plea to the drug crime came during a pretrial conference before Judge Robert J. Elgee. Wagstaff had been scheduled for a jury trial to begin June 17. He remains free on $30,000 bond. Sentencing was scheduled for July 20 at 9 a.m.

Charges are still pending against four other men arrested by the Narcotics Enforcement Team in February and March. Court and jail records allege that all four of the other suspects are illegal immigrants.

Terry Smith:

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