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Man sentenced to more than seven years for meth

WORTHINGTON -- A 43-year-old Worthington man won't be doing much fishing for the next few years after being sentenced in Nobles County District Court Monday for selling methamphetamine.

May Chantharath was sentenced to 94 months with the Minnesota Department of Corrections as part of a plea agreement he made with the state. Chantharath was arrested in May 2011 after being involved in the sale of more than 16 grams of meth while fishing at the grade, a well-known fishing spot along Lake Okabena in Worthington.

According to the criminal complaint, arrangements were made through the Buffalo Hills Drug Task Force and a confidential informant to purchase a half ounce of meth from Chantharath.

In a text message to the informant, Chantharath stated he would be fishing at the grade.

The agent and informant met with Chantharath at the grade, where the informant stated he did not have money with him. Chantharath went to his truck, grabbed a different fishing pole and came back with a baggie that later field-tested positive for 16.7 grams of meth and packaging.

Chantharath then went back to fishing. The agent identified himself and arrested Chantharath.

During an interview at the law enforcement center, Chantharath admitted to giving the informant meth, but said he had received no payment. He said he had planned to keep a gram out of the half ounce and smoke the meth while he fished. He also admitted he had torn a hole at the bottom of the bag and smoked some of the meth while waiting for the informant to arrive.

His plea agreement was for a prison term on the low end of the presumptive sentence.

According to Nobles County Assistant Attorney Travis Smith, Chantharath can "count himself lucky" the agreement was for the bottom end of the presumptive sentence, since the recommendation by the corrections agent who did the pre-sentence investigation was for 110 months incarceration.

Chantharath had been offered an agreement that included a lesser sentence and a treatment option, but according to defense attorney Dennis Rutgers, he elected to "take his lumps" after failing a drug test while out on bail and opted for the longer sentence.

Chantharath will serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison and the final third on supervised release if he is well-behaved while incarcerated. He will get credit for time served in the Nobles County Jail.

He has two previous convictions for driving while impaired in Nobles County District Court.

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at 376-7322.