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Warrants issued for 10 people after lengthy Beatrice drug investigation

Area law enforcement took strides this week to rid the area of drugs by making several arrests after more than an year of investigations.

Warrants were issued for 10 individuals related to drug distribution in Beatrice following the investigations, and police began making arrests Monday morning.

Beatrice Police Lt. Jay Murphy said the department conducted controlled drug purchases using informants as part of the investigations, and the department’s goal was to make arrests in one large sweep.

“On these type of things the purpose of trying to do them all at one time is if you don’t, some of them hunker down and then you have a hard time finding them, or it’s a more dangerous arrest in the future,” he said.

Murphy added the arrests are a major accomplishment for the department, but especially for those officers who spend months or even years working behind the scenes to get drug dealers off the streets.

“They have worked really hard on making cases on these guys and gals and I’m sure it’s rewarding for them, because it’s a lot of work,” Murphy said. “It’s been over the last year they made these cases. I think it’s a never-ending battle, but a step in the right direction and a good message for others to see that if they’re dealing in illegal narcotics, their time will come.”

Authorities made four arrests Monday for distribution of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. Those included Wade Padgett who was arrested in Virginia, Dawn Meyer who was arrested in Odell, Phillip Olin who was arrested in Beatrice and Christopher Simpson who was also arrested in Beatrice.

Olin faces additional charges of drug possession due to having methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in his possession at the time of arrest.

Wadgett and Simpson face enhanced charges due to drug sales being made within 1,000 feet of a school or playground.

Many of the suspects were residing in Gage County, while law enforcement in Lincoln and Bellevue were assisting to arrest those suspects who now live in their communities.

Sheriff’s deputies and members of a Lincoln drug task force assisted with the arrests in Beatrice, and Murphy said most arrests are made without incident. Added precautions are taken if police believe a suspect may be dangerous.

“If it’s going to be a dangerous arrest we’ll probably try and get a search warrant and get the SWAT team and do that,” Murphy said.

He added that the series of coming arrests are the latest example of the department’s efforts to crack down on drugs, and that many people don’t realize how much crime is related to drugs in some way.

“A lot of our crime is based around drugs,” Murphy said. “A lot of people don’t see that. They just see that ‘hey, my car got broken into,’ but a lot of that stuff is based around drugs. They need money to buy drugs so they go steal stuff and sell it for money or trade it for drugs. I think it’s a step in the right direction and shows the public that we are working hard on cutting down on the free use of them.”


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Eighth annual father-daughter dance

Vintage Venue was full of lifts, twirls, baby sharks and Cupid shuffles Friday night as it hosted the eighth annual Father-Daughter Dance.

202 fathers and daughters were treated to a sit-down dinner, cupcake station, Shirley Temple bar and an interview station, where fathers had to guess what their daughter's favorite food is, or what they want to be when they grow up.

Photos were taken of all the dates, which were then put into a card that the daughters could decorate and write notes to their fathers and vice versa.

The families went all out this year, with many dates wearing coordinating outfits, and a group arriving at the dance in a limo.

It was Preston and Charlotte Gronemeyer's first time attending the dance.

Preston said he didn't expect the dance to be as big as it was.

"It’s pretty awesome," Preston said. "It’s a real fun time. I know Charlotte’s having a great time."

The dance was hosted by the Beatrice Mary Family YMCA, and was open to anyone who wished to attend.

"The dance had previously been held at the Y, but we were running into the issue of having to turn couples away due to lack of tables and seating," Jennifer Elliott, the YMCA Program Director, said. "Vintage Venue is not only beautiful, but they have the space and tables/seating to host more."


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Man arrested for violating sex offender requirement

Gage County deputies arrested a man for failing to meet registration requirements as a sex offender.

The Gage County Sheriff’s Office received reports that Michael Gwynne Wood, 33, was a registered sex offender and had been staying at 1502 Scott St. since late last year, but had not reported that address to deputies as required by law.

An investigator and a deputy for the sheriff’s office initiated an investigation and observed Wood’s vehicle at the residence on several occasions, reviewed sex offender registration paperwork, and obtained witnesses for the case.

On Friday morning the deputy and investigator observed Wood’s vehicle parked at the residence again. He then emerged from the residence, got into the vehicle and left westbound on Scott Street.

According to a press release from the department, the investigator followed Wood’s vehicle and radioed uniformed deputies to prepare to stop the vehicle.

Wood drove to Cedar Street and turned south on Cedar, then stopped his vehicle. Uniformed deputies from the Gage County Sheriff’s Office then arrived in marked patrol vehicles and initiated a traffic stop.

Wood was taken into custody for violation of the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act and taken to the Gage County jail where he was booked on the felony charge.

Wood had registered a Plymouth, Neb. address with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as recently as January 23, however he did not report the Beatrice address as required by law. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was notified of this investigation and arrest for potentially filing charges in that county.


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2 arrested after pursuit

Two people were arrested Friday after a pursuit through southern Gage County.

At around 7:45 p.m. a deputy with the Gage County Sheriff’s Office attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a Ford Explorer in Beatrice for a traffic offense.

According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the vehicle fled south on Highway 77 reaching speeds of more than 80 mph.

As the vehicle entered Wymore, the Wymore Police Department deployed stop sticks which deflated three of the vehicle’s tires. The vehicle pulled into Wymore Express and a male passenger exited the vehicle.

He allegedly ran towards a parked pickup and pointed a handgun, which was later identified as a pellet pistol, at the occupant of the pickup and attempted to open the locked door.

The male then ran around to the passenger side and opened the door and struggled with the occupant.

As the deputy sheriff approached, the man dropped the gun and raised his arms. The male refused to follow commands of the deputy.

The deputy deployed a taser causing the male to fall to the ground. The male broke free of the taser prongs and ran back to and got into the passenger seat of the Explorer. The Explorer fled south on Highway 77 for approximately one mile and came to a rest at Highway 77 and Plum Road.

The driver, Tiffany Shulka, 28, of Lincoln, and passenger Jovan Travis, 32, of Birmingham, Ala., were taken into custody.

A methamphetamine pipe was recovered as evidence.