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Jury convicts drug dealer in absentia

DAVE HAWKINS, Special to the Daily NewsMay 21, 2019

KINGMAN — A former Desert Hills resident who sold significant quantities of drugs in Mohave County was convicted in absentia at his jury trial in Kingman.

A Mohave County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes Thursday before finding David Allen Muehlhausen, 59, guilty of all seven felony offenses.

Prosecutor Kellen Marlow told the jury that Muehlhausen sold drugs to a confidential informant who was working for law enforcement. Defense attorney Sandra Carr countered that the informant was not a credible witness and should not be believed because he was making controlled buys to avoid a prison sentence for his own criminal drug involvements.

The informant and Lake Havasu City Police Sgt. Chris Sautner testified separately about arrangements to purchase drugs from Muehlausen. The jury also watched a video featuring Muehlhausen’s various admissions when interviewed by Sautner at the police department following his arrest in late October of 2015.

“David was extremely cooperative during the course of the investigation and my interview,” Sautner testified.

Muehlausen spoke candidly during the interview, telling Sautner that he acquired drugs in California and that profit was his motive for selling in the Lake Havasu area as well as in Golden Shores, Bullhead City and Fort Mohave. Marlow told the jury that Muehlhausen appeared to be proud to develop a reputation as a reliable provider while building a lucrative enterprise.

“He was becoming exponentially big in that context,” Marlow said. “He was trying to move as much weight as possible because he was trying to impress the people who were supplying him.”

Muehlhausen was convicted of sale of dangerous drugs to the informant on two occasions in the parking lot of a Lake Havasu City grocery store in the 3700 block of London Bridge Road. An August 2015 transaction there involved a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine; a half-ounce of meth was sold at the same location the next month.

The jury also found Muehlhausen guilty of selling an ounce of methamphetamine at the informant’s residence in the 1100 block of Riverside Drive in October of 2015. He also was convicted of selling another ounce of meth and a gram of heroin to the informant two weeks later at a Highway 95 convenience store.

A subsequent search of Muehlhausen’s home and vehicle netted seizure of more than four ounces of meth and about two ounces of heroin.

Carr conceded that Muehlhausen admitted drug-dealing activity in general, but she argued he did not admit involvement in the specific transactions at issue at trial. She told the jury that the informant was a user and a drug dealer whose testimony could not be trusted because he was trying to save his own skin.

Muehlausen did not show up for his trial, though his absence was not a surprise. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Aug. 29, 2016, after Muehlhausen missed several court hearings. Marlow said Muehlhausen faces up to 55 years in prison if he is located and returned for sentencing.

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