A man who was convicted of possessing 12 pounds of methamphetamine with the intent to sell it on the street was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison Wednesday and will be deported to Mexico once he is released.

Gerardo Lopez-Medina, 42, was convicted of possessing meth with the intent to distribute. He was arrested in 2005 in Clearfield after police found the drug divided into 12 packages inside a truck that Lopez-Medina had been using.

Police got a search warrant for the vehicle after an informant told law enforcement officials that Lopez-Medina was a "large scale drug distributor in the northern Utah area," according to federal court documents.

Police also found several pounds of a substance that is commonly mixed with meth.

Senior Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Vincent asked U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball to add an enhancement, or extra prison time, onto the sentence because Vincent said Lopez-Medina lied under oath about not knowing anything about the drugs or having been to that particular location before.

But defense attorney Bel-Ami de Montreux objected to the prison term enhancement, saying that his client had cooperated with government officials.

In the end, the judge said that he did not think that Lopez-Medina's conduct rose to the level of obstruction of justice. Kimball instead imposed a prison term for the drug offence alone, which is 235 months, and, in response to a request from Lopez-Medina, urged the U.S. government to put him in a California prison and provide intensive drug treatment.

There also is, technically, a requirement that Lopez-Medina be on 60 months of supervised release after his prison term ends, but Vincent said the most likely scenario is that Lopez-Medina will be deported immediately after the end of his imprisonment.

E-mail: lindat@desnews.com