Sandwich run leads to meth arrest

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Jessica D. Cruz

McCOOK, Neb. -- A McCook woman who told a curious police officer she smelled like marijuana because she had just smoked a blunt at home, and was subsequently arrested after a search of her vehicle turned up a baggie of methamphetamine crystals, was sentenced to probation time recently in Red Willow County District Court. The woman, 32-year-old Jessica D. Cruz of 27 South Street, received an 18 month probation sentence during a Jan. 9, 2017, sentencing hearing.

Cruz accepted a plea agreement in November admitting guilt to a Class I misdemeanor offense for attempted possession of methamphetamine and an infraction for possession of drug paraphernalia. The plea reduced the attempted possession violation from a Class IV felony alleging possession of meth.

According to court documents, Cruz was arrested in December at the west Casey's General Store in McCook after a police officer in line behind her smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana. The officer followed Cruz outside and asked her about the odor, prompting Cruz to say she had just smoked a blunt at home before coming to the store for a sandwich.

After receiving consent to search Cruz's vehicle the officer found a tobacco grinder containing a mix of tobacco and marijuana and in another part of the car a clear plastic baggie containing a crystalline substance. The substance tested positive for the presence of meth, according to court documents.

Other activity in Red Willow County District Court, Jan. 9, 2017:

* Sentencing for the second of two thieves arrested for stealing tools and attempting to sell them online was continued until early February. The tool thief, 23-year-old Patrick Brooks of 1006 West 12th Street, will face sentencing at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2017.

The theft charges stem from more than $3000 in tools stolen from a rural shop, according to court documents. Brooks accepted a plea agreement in August admitting guilt to a Class I misdemeanor for theft by receiving stolen property valued between $500 and $1500. He was originally facing a Class IV felony theft charge and also faces probation violation allegations stemming from the tool theft violating his probation in a 2014 conviction. Brooks was sentenced to 30 months probation in November of 2014 after accepting a plea agreement admitting guilt to a Class 3 felony burglary offense; a Class IV felony offense for theft by unlawful taking; and two Class I misdemeanor offenses for possession of stolen property. He was also ordered to pay $313 in restitution to Weathercraft, in addition to an unspecified amount to another man if property belonging to him was not returned.

Brooks accomplice during the more recent tool theft, 31-year-old Alicia Bergling of 1006 West 12th Street, was sentenced to 12 months probation in November for her role in the crime. Bergling accepted a plea agreement admitting guilt to a Class I misdemeanor offense for theft by receiving stolen property valued between $500 and $1500.

She was originally facing a Class IV felony alleging theft by receiving stolen property valued between $1500 and $5000.

* A plea agreement was reached with a Holbrook man who crashed his Jeep Cherokee into the Cedar Inn Motel office building.

The man, 42-year-old Matthew Curran, was subsequently scheduled for sentencing at 9:15 a.m. on March 6, 2017.

The plea agreement reduced a Class IV felony alleging possession of methamphetamine to a Class I misdemeanor for attempted possession of meth, in addition to admitting guilt to a Class W misdemeanor for driving under the influence of drugs.

According to court documents, emergency responders found Curran's Jeep near the northeast corner of the building with front end damage and airbags deployed. They followed a trail of items from within the vehicle, including music CDs, vehicle registration and other papers, across the parking lot to Curran's motel room. Just outside the motel room door lie one of the licenses plates to the vehicle.

A cooperative and initially unresponsive Curran was arrested after a plastic baggie containing a crystalline substance, which field tested positive for the presence of meth, was discovered.

Curran subsequently consented to a drug test which tested positive for the presence of benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, tetrahydrocannabinol and amphetamines, according to court documents.