LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Las Vegas man who stockpiled ingredients to make methamphetamine was sentenced to life in prison, despite evidence that he never actually produced the drug.
Prosecutors believe Jessie Rodriguez Barron was the first in California to face federal charges under the theory that his sales of a ``precursor chemical'' was a conspiracy to assist in the production of methamphetamine.
When Barron, 49, was indicted in 1994, it was uncommon for authorities to arrest and charge someone simply for possessing ingredients used to make methamphetamine.
``It was only the people who were manufacturing the meth who were being charged,'' said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Stern.
On Monday, a federal judge sentenced Barron to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Since his indictment, others defendants have been sentenced under the same legal theory.
Authorities suspected that Barron was instrumental in a group that sold more than 40,000 gallons of hydriodic acid to meth manufacturers, setting up two companies to purchase the acid in the early 1990s.