BROOKINGS – A Ramona man has been sentenced to six years in prison for distributing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of Pioneer Park last spring.
Jeremiah Brown, 27, pleaded guilty on Dec. 9 to a two-count Brookings County grand jury indictment of distributing meth and violating drug-free zones.
The indictment says that Brown distributed meth on April 6, 2020, in the 700 block of Wilson Avenue in Brookings.
In exchange for the plea, no further charges were brought against Brown, and the State dismissed remaining charges and remaining criminal files against him. The State recommended five years in prison for violating drug-free zones and one year in prison for distributing a controlled substance, with the terms running consecutively.
Both are Class 4 felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The distribution charge carries a mandatory minimum of one year in prison, and the drug-free zone charge has a five-year mandatory minimum.
At sentencing this week, defense attorney Anthony Teesdale said Brown had a hard life, including abuse, and he turned to illegal substances to escape. Teesdale said Brown was an addict in a desperate situation when he distributed to another dealer, and he was not a street dealer.
Teesdale asked Circuit Judge Dawn Elshere to find mitigating circumstances to deviate from the mandatory minimum. His client wants to make changes and has high potential for rehabilitation on supervised probation, the attorney said.
The judge said she disagreed that there were mitigating circumstances and said it was “highly suspect” that Brown only dealt one time. She said Brown was not a candidate for probation.
Elshere then sentenced Brown to five years in prison on the distributing count, with four of those years suspended, and 10 years in prison for violating drug-free zones, with five of those years suspended.
Nine of the 15 total years were suspended on condition that Brown pay $213 in fines and court costs, $130 for drug testing, $150 for drug buy money, and court-appointed attorney fees. He must also remain law abiding and follow the rules and regulations of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The two terms will run consecutively, and Brown received credit for 96 days already served in jail.
Brookings County State’s Attorney Dan Nelson credited local investigators with finding meth dealers in the community.
“Brookings County is a safer place every time we remove a meth dealer from our community. Our local Division of Criminal Investigation special agents along with Brookings Police Department detectives have been very successful at finding the distributers of meth and putting together solid cases for our office to prosecute,” Nelson said in a statement.
“In South Dakota v. Jeremiah Brown, a confidential informant had identified Mr. Brown as a meth dealer in our community and began working with law enforcement in April of 2020 to arrange a transaction that could be recorded using various forms of surveillance. Under law enforcement surveillance, the informant ultimately purchased 0.6 grams of meth for $150 from Mr. Brown near Pioneer Park,” Nelson added.
“We remain aggressive in our pursuit to find and prosecute those willing to distribute the poison that is meth. The sentence handed down on Tuesday reflects the hard work law enforcement continues to do every day.”
Contact Jill Fier at [email protected]