Man convicted on meth charges says he didn’t manufacture

PNT staff

A Roosevelt County man sentenced last week on methamphetamine manufacturing charges says he didn’t cook meth and was sentenced 15 years in prison for being an addict.

Cody Banister, 28, agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to 21 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections, with the last six years suspended in favor of three years of supervised probation. He said he signed the plea deal because he was told he would receive much more time in prison if he were convicted in a trial.

“My kids are still young, you know,” Banister said.

Banister turned himself in Wednesday morning. He was given seven days by the court to get his affairs in order.

The charges stem from two incidents, one in November 2007 and one in May 2008, when police executed search warrants on Banister’s house.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Banister said he didn’t have a meth lab, only the precursors that “every house in America” has.

Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker said police found only precursors in the first incident, but discovered meth oil in the second search. Meth oil is a sign that someone has been cooking the drug, he said.

Hooker also said that according to agent Shawn Gore’s report, after police read Banister his Miranda rights, Banister told Gore he had cooked meth twice but ruined both batches. Also, Hooker said the names of Banister and the other occupant of the house were on store logs as having purchased suphedrine, a meth precursor, 15 times between Oct. 1, 2007, and Nov. 20, 2007, in Clovis and Portales.

Banister said he had been out of prison for three years and had money from his $40,000-a-year job.

“I didn’t have to go make dope,” he said.

Hooker said 13 deputies and officers from the sheriff’s office, Portales Police Department, State Police and Adult Probation and Parole assisted in the investigation and clean up.