Eric Bartels was sentenced to 3-6 years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary Monday in Lincoln County District Court for possession of meth with intent to deliver, being a felon in possession of a firearm and aiding and abetting a felony.
Prosecutors dropped a charge of being a habitual criminal.
According to the arrest warrant, Bartels, 36, was snared on Oct. 16, 2017, after law enforcement arranged for a confidential informant to buy a rifle and a quarter-ounce of meth from him.
Bartels met the informant somewhere in Patriot Mobile Home Park and sold him the rifle.
A short time later, Bartels contacted the informant and told him he could only get $200 worth of meth. They agreed to meet at Wal-Mart where the deal went down, according to the court record.
After the exchange, police inventoried the informant’s car and found the rifle in a case, plus 2.89 grams of meth.
The informant positively identified Bartels as the person who sold him the gun and drugs.
In court, Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Kortnei Hoeft asked for a prison sentence.
“Mr. Bartels is the definition of a habitual criminal,” she said. “He has served prison sentences in 2002, 2004 and 2010.”
Defense Attorney Troshynski asked that his client get credit for time spent in jail.
He said Bartels understood he would go to prison, but hoped for a light sentence since he had received drug treatment in jail, taking several programs to better himself.
But Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch told Bartels that his “record is bad and at some point, the county (prosecutors) won’t put aside the habitual charges, so I hope you are changing.”
Birch sentenced him to a minimum of 3 years for the firearm and aiding crimes, then tacked on 2-6 years for the meth charge. He made the sentences concurrent, so Bartels could be released in three years, less the time he’s served already — 152 days in jail while the case moved through the courts.
Shawn Reese was sentenced to 2-5 years in the penitentiary for burglary a year ago of On-Trac at 1820 E. Philip.
Reese, 28, pled guilty to the reduced charge on Apr. 22. In exchange, other charges were dropped.
On June 6, 2018, an On-Trac driver found the business was broken into and ransacked.
A missing surveillance DVR was found at the neighboring business. The security footage on the was recovered from the DVR and showed a man, later identified as Reese, going through delivery vans as well as office cabinets and drawers.
Defense Attorney Robert Lindemeier said his client would be a good candidate for probation but if it was not an option, he asked for a minimum sentence, since he had pled to the crime and saved the county the expense of a trial.
Birch said the pre-sentence investigation did not recommend probation. Reese has been in prison three previous times on burglary and theft charges. He’s served a total of three and a half years in the pen.
And this time, he’s served 135 days in county jail as the On-Trac burglary case moved through the courts. Birch gave him credit for that time, as is customary.