File Photo Hope P. Nisen, of Barre, appears with her public defender at her arraignment in September in Washington County criminal court in Barre.
BARRE — A Granite City woman is the last to be sentenced to time served in a case involving four people, three from out of state, charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine in Barre.
Hope Nisen, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to possession of cocaine, conspiracy to sell cocaine and carrying a firearm while committing a felony, all felonies.
She was sentenced to one to five years, all suspended except 90 days to serve. Nisen won’t serve any more jail time as she was held on $100,000 bail after her arrest in September and is getting credit for time served. She was released to attend treatment in December.
Nathan Gore, 23, of New York, and Dwayne T. Miley, 22, of Factoryville, Pa., both pleaded guilty April 9 to felony possession of cocaine and felony conspiracy to sell the drug. Gore and Miley were sentenced to one to five years, all suspended except six months to serve with credit for time served. Both were held on $100,000 bail after their arrest in September.
Byron Matthews, 18, of New York, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to felony possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to three to four months to serve, with credit for time served. Matthews was also held on $100,000 bail after his arrest in September. A felony charge of conspiracy to sell cocaine was dropped under the plea agreement.
According to the police affidavit, officers responded to a 911 call on a night in September after a man said three males had assaulted him and were following him in a red car. Police say they found the red Volkswagen sedan in the parking lot of the Days Inn on South Main Street. Police say the car had Maryland license plates and was registered to Enterprise Rental.
At the inn, police found the room where the men who were driving the car had been staying. Police knocked on the door, and a male opened it while another male stood in the middle of the room.
While police were questioning the two men, one officer saw a black semi-automatic pistol on the nightstand that turned out to be loaded; a knife on a table with a white substance on it next to large white flakes of a powdery substance; and a box of plastic sandwich bags, according to the affidavit.
As the officer was looking into the room, he saw the bathroom door moving and yelled for the person inside to come out. While the officer was approaching the third male, another officer found Nisen behind the front door of the room with a gun in a holster on her hip.
Police took all four into custody and unloaded the guns. While doing so, police say, they located a black plate on the shelf of the nightstand with a large quantity of white powder on it and a bag of marijuana.
Police then got a warrant to search the room. The items they seized included the knife, a Keltec 9mm pistol, a Taurus .380-caliber pistol, $4,526 in cash, a digital scale and 15.75 grams of what tested positive for cocaine.
In court Wednesday, Nisen’s plea deal almost fell apart because of the money that was seized. Her attorney James Martino argued the money was Nisen’s awarded to her from a previous lawsuit.
State’s Attorney Thomas Kelly said Nisen was awarded only $3,628 in the lawsuit. Kelly said the money was in the possession of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because it was confiscated in case federal charges were brought.
Nisen was the only one of the four defendants to make a claim on the money. Kelly said one of the stipulations of the plea agreement for Nisen was to allow her to have the $3,628 if the federal government decided to give it back. The remainder was to go to Central Vermont Crime Stoppers as a donation.
Martino argued that the state court had no jurisdiction over the money since it was in possession of the federal government.
He eventually agreed to giving the $898 to Crime Stoppers after Judge Thomas Zonay said the case would be sent to trial if no agreement can be reached.
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