COLUMBUS — A Platte County District Court judge told a 46-year-old Grand Island woman the temptation of making “easy money” led her to distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in Columbus a year ago.
Judge Robert Steinke said Carla Velazquez had proven she could hold down legitimate jobs while working at a meatpacking plant and bar in Grand Island, but chose to supplement her income by serving as a go-between for a drug supplier.
“You chose to supplement your income, in your own words, because it was easy money,” Steinke said, citing a presentence investigation report, before sentencing Velazquez to four to eight years in prison Friday for distributing meth during transactions from January to March of last year.
She pleaded guilty in October to two counts of distributing 10 to 28 grams of meth, Class 1D felonies punishable by a mandatory minimum of three years imprisonment and maximum penalty of 50 years behind bars for each charge.
In exchange for her pleas, two other distribution counts were dismissed.
Velazquez was charged with meth distribution after initially reneging on a deal with law enforcement authorities to cooperate by making controlled drug buys from her supplier.
She was also ordered to pay $3,600 and given credit for 17 days already served in the case during Friday's hearing.
Court documents describe a Nebraska State Patrol investigation that got underway in early January 2017 when Velazquez met an informant equipped with a recording device in a local parking lot. Approximately 1 ounce of meth was sold during that transaction, according to court documents.
Velazquez was accused of making three similar drug transactions in January, February and March before her arrest.
During an interview at the State Patrol office in Columbus, Investigator Keith Bignell reported Velazquez confessed to delivering the meth and identified her drug supplier.
The investigator wrote that Velazquez said she was willing to actively cooperate with law enforcement to make controlled drug purchases from her supplier.
“After several months, it became apparent that Velazquez’ cooperation was not producing the results she claimed it would, nor did it produce any prosecutable cases,” Bignell wrote in his statement.