19th Judicial District Court: Sentencing for drug possession, DUI

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  • Nickolaus John Edwards sentencing, Monday, March 5, 2018. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

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    Brandon Colten Martell (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

  • Nickolaus John Edwards sentencing, Monday, March 5, 2018. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

  • 1

    Brandon Colten Martell (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

Libby man sentenced to treatment for drug possession

Nickolaus Edwards was sentenced to five years with the Montana Department of Corrections in Montana 19th Judicial District Court on March 5.

Judge Matt Cuffe noted that the sentence would not necessarily mean time in prison. Edwards was remanded for screening and placement in an appropriate program.

He will get credit for time served, Cuffe said.

Edwards was found guilty by a jury of felony possession of drugs and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. The maximum penalty for the offenses are five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for the felony and six months in jail and a $500 for the misdemeanor.

Edwards’ attorney, Charles Sprinkle, argued that Edwards had already spent several months in jail, during which time he had likely gotten over any addiction he may have entered with. He suggested a five year suspended sentence with supervision.

During his statement to the court, Edwards said that his crime was “victimless,” in that he had not directly harmed anyone other than himself. He said he felt he was no longer a threat to society and had time to think about his actions during his time in the Lincoln County Jail.

In passing sentence, Cuffe observed that Edwards had a long criminal history and had been through treatment programs three times, most recently in 2015. Given the history, Cuffe said that Edwards’s situation was not a “second chance” case.

In addition to his five years with the Montana Department of Corrections, Cuffe gave Edwards the maximum time for the misdemeanor, but made it run concurrent to the Department of Corrections sentence.

According to an affidavit from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Dodson, Edwards was found in possession of drugs and paraphernalia on July 6, 2017. He was found at a residence with a number of other people during the execution of a search warrant on the residence for stolen property and drugs.

The affidavit indicates Edwards was known to police, including past habits of locations where he might hide drugs. A “dirty syringe” was found in his pocket and a plastic baggy of methamphetamine was found in the sweatband of his baseball cap.

Libby man sentenced for felony drug possession

Brandon Martell was sentenced to a five year suspended sentence for felony drug possession of hydrocodone in Montana 19th Judicial District Court on March 5.

The sentence fit the recommendation from County Attorney Marcia Boris in accordance with a plea agreement reached with Martell. Martell also received credit for time served.

Cuffe said that the conditions of release would provide Martell the opportunity to get rehabilitation.

According to an affidavit from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detective Brad Dodson, Dodson and Sergeant Brandon Holzer were in the Rosauers parking lot June 22 investigating a report of people drinking and smoking marijuana.

While pouring out cans of beer, Dodson saw a truck pull up driven by someone he knew to have a drug history. After seeing a passenger in the back seat drink from what Dodson believed was a Vodka bottle.

After Dodson spoke with the rear seat passenger, Kevin Johnson, and confirmed the bottle was Vodka, Libby Probation Officer Darrel Vanderhoef identified the front seat passenger as Martell. Martell was on supervised release.

Dodson said that he found an open can of beer in the cup holder next to Martell and that Martell smelled of alcohol. Vanderhoof found pills in Martell’s pocket, and Martell told officers he had gotten them from Johnson, who had prescriptions for an antibiotic and Lortab, a form of hydrocodone.

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