Melissa Annen came before District Court Judge Travis O’Gorman to receive her sentence for attempted distribution of a controlled substance, a class 3A felony.
According to court records, on Jan. 20, 2018, an investigator, who was assisted by the WING Drug Task Force, “conducted a controlled buy of methamphetamine,” with the help of a confidential informant.
They purchased 1.3 grams of methamphetamine from a person identified as Melissa Annen. The investigators attached an audio recording device to the confidential informant and set up surveillance of the purchase location.
At about 2:14 p.m., investigators observed the informant approach a white sedan parked in a parking lot. The informant sat in the passenger seat of the vehicle, and then exited after a short time.
The informant told investigators that they would wait in Annen’s apartment.
The vehicle left the parking lot and returned to an apartment complex at approximately 2:40 p.m. Investigators observed Annen exit the vehicle and enter her apartment. The informant later told the investigators they gave Annen $100 while they were in the apartment.
Annen left the apartment and drove away. At 3:04 p.m., Annen returned to the purchase location and met with the confidential informant. After a brief time, the informant walked away from Annen’s vehicle, and investigators observed Annen, the sole occupant of the vehicle, drive away from the location.
The confidential informant met with investigators, and handed them a small bag containing a white, crystalline substance, which later tested positive as methamphetamine. The informant told investigators they had received the methamphetamine while they were in the parking lot after Annen’s source allegedly contacted her.
Annen was arrested and charged with two counts of distributing an exceptionally hazardous drug, a class 2 Felony. Those charges were reduced as part of a plea agreement.
Prosecutor Jamian Simmons asked Judge O’Gorman to consider the high number of cases involving methamphetamine in Box Butte County before making his sentence.
“The defendant doesn’t have much of a criminal history,” Simmons said. “We do continue to have a substantial problem in this county with methamphetamine.”
Simmons told Judge O’Gorman the sentence would be a way to set an example for others who distribute meth in Box Butte County.
Annen’s attorney, Jon Worthman, agreed with Simmons’ assessment, though he saw some differences in this case when compared with other distribution cases. He noted that she was giving the drug to someone she knew.
“It’s a very serious case. Ms. Simmons is right — distribution is a problem. It’s serious, but on the spectrum of seriousness of distribution, it’s not that high,” Worthman said.
Worthman asked that Judge Travis O’Gorman give Annen a term of probation. Judge O’Gorman said there is a methamphetamine problem in Box Butte County, but decided to give Annen a chance on probation, sentencing her to serve two years probation.
“We have a problem here, but I’m going to give you a chance on probation,” Judge O’Gorman said. “You’ve got to get out of that lifestyle. It’s an addictive substance, but you have family support, and hopefully you will use that support to get away from that lifestyle.”