A former Roswell police officer was sentenced to probation Tuesday after pleading no contest to nine charges stemming from his use of another person’s driver’s license to obtain drugs from a pharmacy.
Justin Coon was charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance (ephedrine) by misrepresentation, five counts of obtaining drug precursor with misrepresentation by representation, one count of possession of Oxycodone and one count of theft of identity.
Special prosecutor Kirby Wills of Otero County said that as the result of a plea agreement the state agreed not to seek maximum charges because this was the first offense for Coon.
“With first offenders in the state, New Mexico has something called conditional discharge. This is something we give to all first offenders and I saw no reason why he should be an exception,” Wills said.
Conditional discharge allows for the disposition of the criminal charges without an adjudication of guilt as long as all the conditions of probation are met.
Defense attorney Gary Mitchell told the court that Coon became addicted to pain killers as a result of a work-related injury and then used the ephedrine, which is considered a stimulant, to counteract the effects of the pain killers.
Judge Jane Shuler-Gray of Eddie County sentenced Coon to five years of supervised probation. She also ruled that he had to formally resign with the New Mexico Police Academy as a police officer.
“I do not believe this man got off scot-free. He lost his certification and his career; he will have to submit to drug and alcohol screening and he may have to go into out-patient rehabilitation and treatment if that is what the probation officers require,” Wills said.
“There was no evidence that he harmed anyone else but himself. That was a huge mitigating factor in his favor,” said Wills. “I understand that this was a highly charged case in Roswell because he was a police officer, but I do not believe the criminal justice system will see Mr. Coon again.”
The criminal complaint was filed in Roswell Magistrate Court on May 5. The charges stemmed from an incident when the former officer attempted to obtain ephedrine using a driver’s license allegedly taken from an individual who was arrested by Coon. The victim’s mother, who worked for the pharmacy, recognized the license as her son’s and contacted the police.