A Bowling Green man found to have a safe containing more than a pound of methamphetamine was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and eight months in prison.

Samuel de la Trinidad, 38, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to possess meth with the intent to distribute, possession of meth with intent to distribute, possessing firearms as a felon and possessing a defaced firearm.

The charges came about after two Bowling Green Police Department officers patrolling on foot in 2016 smelled marijuana coming from a house in an alley between Payne and Fair streets.

The officers encountered de la Trinidad when they knocked on the door. At first, de la Trinidad said he could not open the door because it was blocked by a bed he had just painted, according to federal court records.

Police obtained a search warrant and found two loaded handguns in the house and small bags of marijuana and meth along with a safe, according to a federal criminal complaint.

“The officers pried open the safe and located several plastic baggies containing approximately two pounds of crystal methamphetamine, digital scales, ammunition and $5,667 in U.S. currency,” de la Trinidad’s plea agreement said.

Chemical analysis determined that there was about 19.75 ounces of meth seized, according to the plea agreement.

Though de la Trinidad first entered a guilty plea in July, a plea agreement calling for a 20-year sentence had been rejected by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers.

There had been some dispute over how to properly calculate de la Trinidad’s prior convictions when devising a penalty range in this case.

The federal court system uses sentencing guidelines that takes into account the defendant’s crimes and prior criminal history.

A plea agreement filed Tuesday documented a prior conviction for de la Trinidad in 2008 in Colorado for possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell.

The 15-year, eight-month sentence was at the low end recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.


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