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Superior man gets federal sentence for drug dealing

MADISON - A Superior man who continued to sell methamphetamine even after police searched his residence was sentenced Thursday in federal court to three years and 10 months in prison for trafficking methamphetamines.

Troy R. Stafne, 46, faced five to 40 years in prison after selling between seven and 12 ¼ ounces of methamphetamine in March 2009. However, his lack of prior convictions for drug or violent offenses allowed District Judge Barbara Crabb to apply a "safety valve" clause in federal sentencing law and reduce Stafne's prison time.

In sentencing Stafne, Crabb noted his drug addiction was so "devastating" that putting him in prison "was a good thing," as it amounts to saving his life.

"I just wonder what you will do after prison," she said.

Stafne said his drug problem caused him to attempt suicide three times before he was arrested last year. Stafne had worked construction and bought a house but his drug addiction resulted in him losing "everything ... most importantly my relationship with my parents and God," he said.

Stafne's attorney, Erika Bierma, said her client, relapsed into drug use after an interferon treatment for hepatitis C failed. The experience caused him to suffer severe depression and return to drugs after six "clean and sober" years, said Bierma, who recommended a three-year sentence for Stafne.

"He didn't wake up one day and want to become a drug dealer, but he needed drugs to feed his addiction," she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson said Stafne continued trafficking methamphetamine even after police searched his house in July 2008 and on two other occasions. Contacts with unnamed individuals suggest that Stafne sold methamphetamine in 2007 and had an "extensive history of anti-social behavior," which Anderson said consisted of numerous police contacts and arrests.

Superior police detective Jeff Harriman said Stafne was well known to the local law enforcement community but continued to deal drugs. Stafne's case was picked up by federal prosecutors because Stafne "just didn't get the message," Harriman said.

Crabb ordered Stafne to participate in substance abuse counseling while in prison, and if deemed necessary by his probation agent, while on four years supervised release.