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Omaha federal court cases this week

OMAHA, Nebraska – According to reports provided on Monday by acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell, the following is a recap of the sentences that were handed down in federal court in Omaha over the past week.

The office of the acting United States Attorney in Omaha would like to remind the general public that there is no such thing as parole in the federal system.

On Friday, Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. handed down a sentence of more than 15 years in prison to a 51-year-old man from Omaha named Scott A. Baze for possessing child pornography. Baze was reportedly previously convicted of sexual assault on a child in 2001 and possession of child pornography in 2010, according to an investigation conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Omaha FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. This information was obtained through a collaboration between these two agencies. Between the months of January and February in 2022, the sheriff’s office and the task force learned that he obtained images from the internet using his cellphone. This information was disclosed in the release. On his mobile device, investigators discovered over 1,500 images and three movies depicting child exploitation. According to the press release, the inquiry was “initiated in May 2021 when Douglas County Sheriff’s officers requested that Baze, a registered sex offender, allow them to inspect his cellphone.” Baze complied with their request. According to the terms of his term of supervised release, Baze has been ordered to make restitution in the amount of $66,000 and is barred from having any contact with children under the age of 18 without the prior approval of the United States Probation Office.

On Friday, Chad M. McCullough, 34, from Franklin, Georgia, was given a sentence for violating the Lacey Act. Judge John Gerrard sentenced him to two years of probation for unlawful transportation of wildlife in interstate commerce. The Lacey Act prohibits the transport of endangered species across state lines. According to the findings of an investigation conducted by the Office of Law Enforcement of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Law Enforcement Division of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, it was reported that McCullough went to Noble Outdoors in North Platte in October 2020 with the intention of participating in an archery mule deer hunt. The statement states that he illegally shot a mule deer in Lincoln County and then brought the trophy portions of the deer to Georgia to have them taxidermied. The release also states that he was arrested for the crime. Officials claim that further investigation revealed that McCullough, along with two other hunting buddies, went to Noble Outdoors to shoot mule deer during archery season, where he shot a mule deer buck in violation of the law. According to the announcement, McCullough will hand over and leave at Noble Outdoors the taxidermy mounts and other parts originating from a total of two mule deer that were taken illegally during the 2020 hunt. This is the third and final penalty handed down to Noble Outdoors for their violation of the Lacey Act. Both in early September and in July, there was a further sentencing hearing about the probationary period.

After having a previous significant drug felony conviction, Mark R. Fuller, 53, from Lincoln was given a sentence of ten years in prison on Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard for the distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine [real] despite having a prior conviction. In January of this year, according to the findings of an investigation conducted by the Narcotics Task Force of Lincoln and Lancaster County, a confidential informant attempted to purchase methamphetamine from Fuller. A gathering was organized to purchase the drugs, and subsequent laboratory analysis was performed on the meth. According to the press statement, there was a minimum of 25 grams of real meth.

Judge John M. Gerrard handed Ashley O’Connell, 33, of Lincoln, a sentence of more than 12 years in prison on Wednesday for her involvement in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine mixture and possession with the purpose to distribute 500 grams or more of the substance. O’Connell was pulled over in November 2019 as part of an investigation being conducted by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force and the Lincoln Police Department. According to the authorities, the vehicle she was driving was stolen. During the examination of the vehicle, the authorities found a firearm, a digital scale contaminated with meth residue, and two plastic bags containing meth. According to the announcement, an early investigation revealed that O’Connell and eight other people had intended to distribute meth alongside O’Connell beginning around November 2017 and continuing through November 2019.

Judge Brian C. Buescher handed down a sentence of more than two years in prison to Rodrik J. Stone, 44, on Wednesday for being a convicted criminal who was in possession of a firearm. In January of this year, officers from the Omaha Police Department stopped a truck that had a damaged taillight as part of an investigation. According to the reports, Stone was operating the vehicle when he was wanted for another crime. In addition, the release claims that he was previously convicted in the year 2020 on a charge of possession. When the authorities had him get out of the truck so they could search the vehicle, they said they discovered narcotics paraphernalia in plain sight. During the search, they discovered a gun that was hidden beneath the driver’s seat.

Guillermo Fraire, 43 years old, from Grand Island, was given a sentence of more than three years in prison on Tuesday by Judge John M. Gerrard for the distribution of 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine. In September of 2020, according to the findings of an investigation conducted by the Hastings Police Department and the Central Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force, Fraire allegedly sold meth to a confidential informant. Meth was found to be 100 percent pure after being tested in the laboratory.

Judge John M. Gerrard on Monday handed down a sentence of more than six years in prison to Charlie Rea, 31, of Chicago, for possession with the intent to distribute more than 400 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl and more than 500 grams of a mixture containing cocaine. Rea was charged with these offenses. A van was pulled over in Buffalo County, Nebraska, in January of 2020 for violating the traffic laws during an investigation that was being conducted by the Nebraska State Patrol. According to the report, Rea was operating the vehicle, and he admitted to having a joint of marijuana in the vehicle. The investigation led to the discovery of a hidden chamber, within which the authorities uncovered, as stated in the press release, “five vacuum-sealed kilo-sized bricks of suspected banned narcotics.” Laboratory analysis established beyond a reasonable doubt that two of the bricks contained fentanyl and three of the bricks contained cocaine.

Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. handed down a sentence of more than a year in prison to Capreeca Jackman, who is 48 years old and lives in Omaha. Jackman was found guilty of interfering with business via robbery. Officials believe that Jackman and Jerome Davis were involved in various robberies that occurred between August 2020 and September 2020. The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Omaha police and the FBI. On September 3, 2020, she allegedly participated in a robbery as a driver, while Davis was a passenger in the crime. During an interview with the police, it was reported that she verified that she drove Davis to two of the locations where the robberies took place, provided them with additional information regarding the hotel that they stayed at, and gave consent for a search of their room as well as her car. According to the announcement, law enforcement officers located a knife that had been brandished by Davis as well as face masks that he had reportedly worn during the robberies.

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