Crime and Safety

Federal court in Omaha round-up of sentences this week

OMAHA, Nebraska – According to information released on Monday by acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell, the following is a summary of sentences handed down last week in federal court in Omaha.

The office of the United States Attorney in Omaha reminds the public that there is no parole in the federal justice system.

Friday, Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Chance Devlin Eddings, 30, of Lincoln, to 10 years for conspiracy to distribute/possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture or more. According to an investigation conducted by Lincoln police and the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force, Eddings and nine others distributed meth in the state between October 2018 and June 2021. According to officials, he imported meth to resell to others and sold at most two ounces of meth to at least six other individuals. According to the announcement, he purchased and delivered approximately 500 grams of meth throughout this time period.

Prince L. Spellman, 39, of Omaha was convicted on Friday of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, or phencyclidine (PCP), possession of a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking felony, and felon in possession of a firearm. In March of last year, in response to a ShotSpotter alarm, investigators from the Omaha Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms investigated a neighborhood in close proximity. The Jeep Cherokee identified by 911 callers as a suspect vehicle in a shooting event in the region matched the Jeep Cherokee observed by officers in the area. According to the announcement, additional evidence from witnesses indicated that the Jeep was the suspect vehicle, and officers recovered bullet casings from the crime site. The next day, while patrolling the area in an unmarked car, OPD gang unit detectives observed the suspected Jeep again and were able to stop it at a McDonald’s with the assistance of additional investigators. The release claims that there were three individuals in the vehicle and that cops observed a firearm behind the driver’s seat. The vehicle was searched, and the driver, later identified as Spellman, was also searched and taken into custody. According to the announcement, authorities recovered a brown liquid later identified as PCP, over 50 grams of white powder later identified as cocaine, and a bottle of blue tablets containing fentanyl. The gun found in the Jeep was linked to bullet casings in the vicinity of the ShotSpotters alert, and it was confirmed that the same gun was used in the event where bullets were fired. According to reports, Spellman’s sentencing will occur in January 2023.

Gregory Lukassen, 50, of Omaha, was found guilty on October 5 of child pornography distribution, receipt, and possession. The sentencing of Lukassen is slated for January 5, 2023, and they face between five and twenty years in prison. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children allegedly informed the Department of Justice that Lukassen’s internet service provider flagged child pornographic uploads. Officers approached Lukassen in January 2020, and Lukassen allegedly acknowledged to discussing sexual fantasies online and getting child pornography unintentionally during the talks. Lukassen’s devices allegedly included cached images of at least 38 images of child pornography.

Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Joseph L. Harwell, 40, of Superior, Nebraska, to 76 months in prison on October 5 for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. On April 4, 2021, a Beatrice police officer allegedly observed Harwell parking his vehicle and walking away. The officer then deployed a drug dog, which showed the presence of illegal substances. The Department of Justice did not describe the officer’s probable cause for deploying a drug dog. During a check of Harwell’s vehicle, police allegedly discovered a backpack containing meth, a digital scale with drug traces, and multiple zip-lock bags. After sending the meth to a lab, it was found that there were 160.93 grams of meth, of which at least 140 grams were meth.

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