Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Simpson: No contest on pot charges

Enters plea via Skype after technical difficulties


File photo

Joe C. Simpson II, left, and his attorney, Jeffry Olson, listen Nov. 25 during a hearing in state District Court in Havre. Monday, Simpson, who appeared from California via Skype, pleaded no contest to all charges in a case that included charges he attempted to accept marijuana mailed to him from California to sell in this area.

After some work overcoming technical difficulties, a former Montana State University-Northern star athlete and recruiter admitted via the Internet Monday that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him of drug charges.

Joe C. Simpson II, born in 1990, pleaded no contest to all charges via Skype from California, where he had been allowed to live pending the trial.

In a no contest plea, the defendant admits the prosecution has enough evidence to likely get a conviction in a trial, but does not admit to doing anything illegal.

He pleaded no contest to attempting to possess more than two pounds of marijuana with intent to sell, a felony, misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and a felony count of possession of property subject to forfeiture.

Under the plea agreement, the prosecution recommends three-year deferred imposition of sentences on the felonies and six-month deferred imposition of sentences on the misdemeanors, all to run at the same time, and that Simpson forfeit a Taurus 9mm handgun and all cash seized during a search of his residence.

Deferred impositions would allow him to petition to have the felony counts struck from his record if he abides by all conditions of release during his probation.

Simpson was accused of accepting a package containing more than two pounds of marijuana mailed to him from California, with U.S. Postal Service employees telling drug task force agents that five similar packages, of about the same size, were mailed to him from California in the previous five weeks.

Postal Service employees detected an apparent odor of marijuana when they were handling the package Oct. 22, which had been damaged during shipping, a charging document says.

His roommates, Daniel Mack and Daniel Agostino each refused to sign for the package on two separate attempts to deliver it. The task force agent then obtained a search warrant, and Simpson and Mack both were present when he served it.

The agent found the Taurus handgun, small quantities of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and more than $13,000 in cash secreted throughout the apartment in bundles ranging from $300 to more than $8,000, the document says.

Mack and Agostino were not charged with felony criminal offenses in district court in Havre, but have forfeited to the the task force $10,800 and the Taurus handgun.


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