NEBRASKA CITY – An Otoe County jury found a Nebraska City man guilty of two counts of distribution of methamphetamine in January and February of 2016.
Jorge Valquier-Argomaniz is set for sentencing May 8 following a three-day trial involving testimony from a confidential informant, who had cooperated with the Nebraska State Patrol regarding controlled buys.
The jury found Valquier-Argomaniz not guilty of a third distribution charge.
Otoe County Public Defender Michael Ziskey told the jury that Valquier-Argomaniz was victim of mistaken identity. He said the state’s case relies on the testimony of a man who faced a possible jail sentence for illegal drugs unless he did as state troopers asked.
He asked the jury if they would rely on the word of a self-motivated drug user to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jury viewed video and heard audio recordings, but the two drug transactions were outside at night and the dealer could not be seen clearly.
Otoe County Attorney David Partsch said the dealer, known by the nickname “Weesus,” was well known to the confidential informant.
Partsch: “I relied on the fact that the purchaser had known this individual for 18 years now and was able to point to him in the courtroom in live testimony as say that’s the guy that was selling.”
Partsch said Otoe County is not immune from the national problem of methamphetamine and he hopes dealers take note of the investigation and prosecution of drug crimes.
Partsch: “We will do our best to try and clean up that issue and take a multi-tiered approach at it. Part of it is getting people who are addicted to illegal substances treatment, right? It’s a health issue. Treating the addictions and cutting down the demand for the drug, but you also have to go after the supply side, and that’s what we were doing today. Trying to go up the chain and attack the dealers and let them know they are going to be held accountable. It’s not just a health issue, it’s a criminal justice issue.”
Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Todd Wiley provided details of the controlled buys that involved a man facing drug charges in Lancaster County.
The jury began deliberations on Thursday and presented its verdict Friday afternoon.