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Cass County Courthouse photo

PLATTSMOUTH – A Nebraska City man will spend four years on probation for bringing drug paraphernalia into Cass County last spring.

Roger L. Sterling Jr., 53, appeared in Cass County District Court Monday morning for a sentencing hearing. He pled guilty in September to one Class IV felony charge of possession of controlled substance-methamphetamine. The state agreed to dismiss a Class III felony charge of possession of deadly weapon by prohibited person as part of a plea bargain.

Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Sterling Jr.’s car in Beaver Lake on April 16 after they noticed expired license plates. He was arrested and taken to Cass County Jail after they discovered he was driving on a suspended license.

Authorities conducted a routine search of Sterling Jr. when they were booking him into jail. They looked through a backpack he had been carrying and discovered a clear plastic pipe that had been used to ingest methamphetamine. Sterling Jr. later admitted to authorities that he owned the pipe.

Deputy County Attorney Richard Fedde told the court Monday that Sterling Jr. had several serious charges on his criminal record. He said he had been sentenced to 55 months in prison on a federal drug charge in 2002. Sterling Jr. was also convicted of aggravated battery in Kansas in 1990, violation of a protection order in Nebraska in 1999 and a local drug charge in 2012.

Fedde said local probation officials had recommended Sterling Jr. be placed on probation for an extended period of time. He said he did not object to that if probation officials felt comfortable with Sterling Jr.’s willingness to comply with all of their requirements.

Judge Michael Smith said he had prepared a jail order for Sterling Jr. He said his decision changed after he learned about the recommendation from probation officials.

Smith ordered Sterling Jr. to serve 48 months of Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision (SSAS) probation. Sterling Jr. must abstain from alcohol and drugs, pay all court costs, obtain substance abuse and mental health evaluations and enroll in cognitive behavior groups.

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