Federal court sentences South Dakota man for traveling with intent for sexual conduct with a minor
August 21 roundup from federal court in Omaha also includes sentences on drug charges
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Below is a roundup of sentences handed down last week in federal court in Omaha, according to updates Monday from acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell.
The acting U.S. Attorney’s office in Omaha reminds the public that there is no parole in the federal system.
Steven Anthony Malechek, 48, Omaha was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to over 16 years for possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. In an investigation with Omaha police, the OPD gang unit and SWAT officers contacted Malechek by a home before a search warrant last May. Officials say he refused to stop and other orders by officers and left speeding up a hill in reverse. Malechek was eventually taken into custody and while searching his car officials found about 70 grams of meth and two guns. Over a week later, police contacted Malechek again and while searching his truck found almost a pound of meth, a ballistic vest, a rifle, and money according to the release. It’s reported over $14,000 in cash was forfeited.
Darrell Hunter, 50, of Omaha, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher for 15 years for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In an investigation with Omaha Metro Drug Task Force, a confidential informant made three purchases of meth from Hunter between March 2021-April 2021 according to the release. It’s reported the purchases were a total of 36 grams of meth. About a week later from the April purchase, there was a search at his place and officials found over 80 grams of meth, with three guns, ammo, and a scale.
Nicholas J. Weare, 35, Carter Lake, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to 14 years for participation in a methamphetamine drug conspiracy. An investigation with the DEA and the Omaha police alleges Weare had several pending arrest warrants and was seen by officers in downtown Omaha on Oct. 28, 2020. Weare was arrested and police allegedly found 55 grams of meth on his person. Weare allegedly admitted to buying 20 pounds of meth over a period of time.
Jose Maria Salazar, 21, of West Point, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to more than 12 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. In April 2021, undercover officers with Lincoln Police arranged for a Mexican-based meth distributor to deliver meth to an undercover officer. An undercover officer met at a neighborhood in West Point for the drug deal. Officers claim Salazar then left his home in the neighborhood and went into the undercover officer’s car for the drug deal. Salazar allegedly delivered two pounds of meth during the meetup. A second undercover buy was arranged a few weeks later and Salazar allegedly met with an undercover officer again and delivered a pound of meth. Salazar was arrested and a search warrant for his home and car allegedly revealed another pound of meth.
Martin Lopez-Martinez, 26, of Omaha, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to more than 11 years in prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. On Sept. 15, 2019, police, using information from a confidential informant, did a traffic stop on Lopez-Martinex. Police searched the vehicle after allegedly smelling marijuana and found marijuana and more than 26 pounds of meth.
Chad M. Franco, 50, of Omaha, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Franco was allegedly seen by a Nebraska State Patrol investigator on the shoulder of I-80 in Lancaster County on Dec. 17, 2020. Franco was allegedly seen speaking with another driver briefly before he got back in his Jeep and drove off. The investigator followed and later pulled Franco over for a traffic violation. The investigator told Franco he would be detained to wait for a drug dog, but then Franco allegedly agreed to a search of his car. During the search, the investigator found a digital scale, bags and an Alprazolam pill. During a search of his person, a trooper found a baggie of meth inside a stocking cap that was inside the pocket of Franco’s coat. After being taken to Douglas County Jail, another search of Franco allegedly revealed another bag of meth. The bags in total allegedly had 60 grams of meth.
Howard Bassette III, 42, of Winnebago, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to five years in prison for sexually assaulting another Winnebago tribal member. On Nov. 9, 2020, Bassette allegedly sexually assaulted a pregnant woman while she was asleep. Bassette allegedly held her down and hit her in the head when she woke up. The woman got away and began to yell for help. Bassette allegedly fled and was arrested later by the Winnebago Police Department.
Courtney Laparele Clark, 35, formerly of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced Thursday by Judge John M. Gerrard to a sentence of time served for Conspiracy to Pass and Utter Forged United States Treasury Checks and two counts of Passing and Uttering Forged United States Treasury Checks. She has already served more than 13 months at the time of sentencing. She will now start three years of supervised release and must pay $1,400 in restitution and $300 in special assessments. On March 26, 2021, authorities say a woman named Jessica Lovering went to an EZ Money Check Cashing location in Omaha and gave an allegedly forged U.S. Treasury stimulus check of $1,400. She was able to cash the check without issue. Officials say a white substance was put on the check to obscure the original payee and Lovering’s name was placed over it. The check originally was made payable to an incarcerated person. The next month Lovering went back to the same Check Cashing location and allegedly tried to cash another forged stimulus check. The staff refused to cash it. Authorities say Lovering received the checks from Courtney Clark. Search warrants for texts and Facebook messages allegedly revealed the two discussing the altered checks. Lovering pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Pass and Utter Forged United States Treasury Checks and two counts of Passing and Uttering Forged United States Treasury Checks. She was sentenced to time served on June 16, 2022 and had already served three months and 11 days. She has since started a three-year term of supervised release. The case was investigated by Omaha Police and the U.S. Secret Service.
John J. Stratman, 73, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was sentenced Thursday by Judge Brian C. Buescher to more than 11 years in prison for traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. Stratman was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and a $5,000 special assessment. He also forfeited a 2019 Buick Enclave. On Oct. 1, 2021, Stratman allegedly contact someone he thought was a person who was offering a 15-year-old girl for sex. The person he allegedly contacted was an undercover officer. From October through January, the two spoke about arranging to meet for sex with the 15-year-old girl. The officer was located in Omaha and Stratman was in South Dakota. On Jan 2, 2022, Stratman allegedly booked a hotel room in Omaha. After he allegedly got to the hotel he met with the undercover officer and had allegedly brought candy and flowers for the 15-year-old. He also allegedly paid the officer $200 cash in exchange for sex with the girl. The case was investigated by the Omaha FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
Robert D. Dankemeyer, 61, of Deshler, was sentenced Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard to more than 17 years for possession of 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Dankemeyer pleaded guilty on May 24, 2022. On June 22, 2020, Dankemeyer was at the Fourth Street Tavern in Deshler when he allegedly got into an argument with some patrons. He left the bar but then allegedly returned with a revolver with a scope attached. He allegedly pointed the gun at people outside the bar but then left the area. Dankemeyer was then found at a gas station in Hebron and arrested later that evening. Thayer County Sheriff’s Department deputies then got a search warrant for Dankemeyer’s home. They allegedly found a small amount of meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, several pellet and BB guns, a few large Bowie knives, and body armor. A search of his car allegedly revealed roughly one pound of meth, blasting caps, fuse igniters, body armor and nine sticks of dynamite.
Juan Ramirez-Heredia, 21, of Omaha, was sentenced Friday by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to 33 months in prison. He was given 33 months each for charges of distribution of 10 grams or more of fentanyl analogue and possession with intent to distribute of 10 grams or more of fentanyl analogue. The sentences will run concurrently. On June 2, 2021, Omaha Police used a confidential informant to buy 100 counterfeit 30-milligram Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl for $1,000 allegedly from Ramirez-Heredia. Officers later allegedly found 690 fentanyl pills during a search of Ramirez-Heredia’s home.
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