Smorgasbord of drugs, loaded handgun and co-defendants in prison | New

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MADISON — Two men each convicted of multiple drug-related offenses received lengthy sentences on Friday.

District Judge Mark Johnson sentenced Nasim McQueen, 23, of Omaha, to 6 to 12 years in prison for attempted possession of cocaine with intent to deliver possession of a firearm and possession of alprazolam with intent to deliver in possession of a firearm.

McQueen’s co-defendant Dionte Ray, 20, also of Omaha, was sentenced by Johnson to 4 to 8 years in prison for attempted possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and possession of alprazolam with intent to deliver.

McQueen and Ray’s convictions stem from a November 27, 2021 incident in which a Norfolk police officer carried out a traffic stop after a vehicle Ray was driving was timed to speed down a street in east Norfolk. McQueen was a passenger in the vehicle.

According to an affidavit, the officer could smell the smell of marijuana emitted from the vehicle and saw a cloud of smoke billowing from the car. The officer said McQueen and Ray appeared nervous as he communicated with them.

Police told the couple they would conduct a probable cause search of the vehicle and asked them to get out of the car.

Before McQueen got out of the vehicle, an officer saw him reach for something between his seat and the armrest with his left hand. McQueen was instructed to keep his hands where officers could see them. He initially complied, but then went back to looking for something. This time, McQueen did not adhere to the officer’s demands and continued to reach.

The officer then removed McQueen from the vehicle, and McQueen and Ray were arrested and handcuffed.

During a search of the car, police found more than 100 alprazolam pills that weren’t prescribed to McQueen or Ray, a 9mm handgun with a bullet in the chamber and multiple rounds in the magazine , a bag containing fentanyl, more than 100 resealable plastic bags, a scale and paraphernalia for drug use. A search of McQueen’s person also turned up cocaine and $364 in cash.

McQueen pleaded guilty on July 1, Ray on July 22.

“It was a drug operation, plain and simple,” said Matthew Kiernan, assistant Madison County prosecutor. “There is only one reason someone would have a gun under these circumstances, and that is to protect the drug trade.

“The fact that there was a gun with a cartridge in the chamber makes me very scared as to what could have happened in that particular situation.”

McQUEEN’S LAWYER, Doug Stratton said there was no way around the reality that McQueen was in possession of a handgun at the time of the traffic stop. But McQueen never intended to use the weapon, Stratton said. Instead, McQueen’s goal was to get off drugs.

“And to me, what corroborates that to a large extent is that when you look at his criminal record, and where he’s from, he really has no prior criminal record and certainly has no criminal record. prior involving anything of a serious nature that is confrontational,” Stratton said.

Stratton said McQueen – originally from Maryland – is someone with a lot of potential who has learned the consequences of hanging out with the wrong people. The defense attorney said he knew it would be a “tough order” for the judge to sentence his client to probation, but probation with jail time included would be a big plus for McQueen.

“We’ll be looking over his shoulder,” Stratton said. “He’s going to get tested, and he’s going to have to go to work, he’s going to have to pay his bills and respect a regiment that is building good habits for the future.”

Johnson told McQueen that there is only one purpose for someone to have a handgun in their possession, and that is to hurt others.

“And there’s only one reason to have that gun in the bedroom,” the judge said. “And that’s to have it quickly available. You fully understood your actions, and that’s part of the reason the weapon was there too.

Johnson said that although McQueen’s criminal history is relatively limited, “this is a very serious crime”.

“You are dangerous to the community, and the aspects of your arrest demonstrate that,” he said.

McQueen, who was given 72 days already served in prison, must serve 3 years in prison before being eligible for parole and 6 years before he can be released.

THE BEST The thing Ray had going for him was that he was not the accused with a gun in his possession, Kiernan said.

The assistant county attorney said he strongly disagreed with the pre-sentence hearing’s probation recommendation for Ray.

“It seems pretty clear that he was involved in this particular drug operation,” Kiernan said. “He said he took drugs from someone, but he didn’t say from whom.

“Due to the seriousness of the drug operation in which he was involved, the state is seeking a jail sentence.”

Ray’s attorney, Brad Ewalt, said Ray was young and perhaps somewhat naïve. The 20-year-old realized what he was doing and ‘got involved in something above his head that led to that night’.

Ewalt said Ray was unaware of the gun and deserved a lesser sentence than McQueen.

Johnson told Ray that his crimes caused harm to the community.

“The community needs to put the pieces back together in the lives of these people who are addicted to these drugs,” the judge said. “People like you who make these drugs available only continue the problem.”

In addition to the drugs and the firearm, a ski mask and a pair of black and red gloves were found in the vehicle. Johnson said the evidence shows “other criminal activity may have been going on.”

Ray, who was credited with 96 days already served in prison, must serve 2 years before being eligible for parole and 4 years before he can be released.

Others appeared (or did not appear) for the following:

Marijuana Delivery Attempted, Probation Violation for Concealment of Stolen Property ($1,500-$4,999)

–Danny J. Harmon, 18, 1111 Southern Drive, had a hearing scheduled on a plea for reduction filed by Ewalt.

Second degree assault, failure to appear

— Tonya F. Angell, 50, 404 S. Sixth St., did not show up. Johnson revoked Angell’s bail and ordered a warrant issued for his arrest.

Attempted first degree forcible confinement, child abuse

–Joseph Bernie, 29, Madison County Jail, pleaded guilty to both counts.

Possession of methamphetamine

— Curtis R. Dubray, 44, 414 S. Fourth St., has pleaded not guilty.

–Megan R. Mahlin, 38, Madison County Jail, had a motion to continue her arraignment.

Possession of methamphetamine

— Jeremy D. Dewitt, 43, Madison County Jail, pleaded guilty.

Theft by deception ($5,000 or more)

— Jeffrey R. Furst, 48, 2210 Sunset Ave., has pleaded not guilty.

Third degree assault on a medical professional, assault by mutual consent

— Silas N. Grey, 25, Reception and Treatment Center, pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Conduct while on dismissal, third degree domestic assault, obstructing a police officer

— Jesse R. Knust, 31, Newman Grove, pleaded not guilty to each charge.

Insurance fraud ($5,000 or more)

— Dustin R. Meyer, 33, Tilden, has pleaded not guilty.

Illegal discharge of a firearm, attempted first degree assault, terrorist threats, use of a firearm to commit a crime

— Nicholas G. Valbuena, 22, 2414 W. Madison Ave., has pleaded not guilty to each count.

Violation of Post-Release Supervision for Third Degree Assault on a Medical Professional, Terrorist Threats

— Sevon Lyonz, 27, Lincoln, did not contest.

Violation of post-release supervision for terrorist threats

–Rafael Ramirez, 20, 1403 Lakewood Drive, #1, pleaded no contest.

Fraudulent insurance deed ($5,000 or more)

— Dustin R. Meyer, 33, Tilden, has pleaded not guilty.

Violation of probation for possession of methamphetamine

–Cory D. Sanders, 35, Madison County Jail, admitted to violating his probation.

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