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Methamphetamine sends Oak Harbor auto dealer to prison

The former manager of an Oak Harbor used car business, who was busted when a large amount of methamphetamine was found at the lot, was recently sent to prison.

Island County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme said that 41-year-old Nolan Brown pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court last week to possession of meth with intent to deliver.

As part of the plea bargain, Ohme and the defense attorney recommended a sentence of three years and nine months in prison. The judge agreed.

In addition, Brown agreed to drop an appeal in a separate case involving drug court.

The Island County High Risk Entry and Arrest Team raided O&J Sales on Goldie Road in March following a joint investigation by the sheriff’s office, Oak Harbor police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The deputies found a total of 94 grams of meth inside the office building, which has an estimated street value of $9,000, the sheriff’s office reported.

The dealership was owned by Brown’s father, who said he wasn’t aware of any criminal activity at the business. The car lot is now closed.

In July, the state Department of Licensing suspended O&J Sales’ license because of the meth contamination. It was the first car lot in the state to have its license yanked for that reason.

The Island County Health Department discovered the contamination after conducting routine testing following the drug-related arrest. The testing discovered contamination in the office and inside vehicles, so the business was shut down for cleaning.

Subsequently, a neighboring dance studio and a thrift store were also temporarily shuttered after small amounts of meth contamination were found inside. The businesses shared a ventilation system with a unit used by employees of the car lot.

Because of the high cost of meth clean-up, the owner of the car lot ended up having 22 contaminated cars hauled away and smashed.

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