MADISON – A Superior man who ran a fairly large local methamphetamine sales operation was sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 12, in federal court to 6.5 years in prison followed by four years’ supervised release.
Edreece Toriano James Nance, 47, sold methamphetamine in ounce or larger quantities 10 times to a confidential informant in the fall of 2019. Nance was arrested on Nov. 14, 2019, when Superior police executed a search warrant at this Ogden Avenue apartment. They found .78 of a pound of meth packaged for resale, two firearms and a small quantity of marijuana.
Nance had sold meth at his apartment and his store, the now closed Robinson’s Leather Plus, on Tower Ave., according to court documents.
Police also received an anonymous tip that Nance sold drugs to a River Falls couple on Oct. 21, 2019.
Nance is unlike typical drug defendants Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Kraus has prosecuted as he isn’t a drug addict.
“That shows this was a choice for financial gain,” Taylor told U.S District Judge James Peterson.
Nance’s age should also indicate a need for the eight-year sentence that Taylor requested. People generally “age out” of criminal activity, but Nance, who was convicted of crack cocaine distribution 14 years ago in Pennsylvania, escalated his criminality, telling police he sold about a half-pound of meth every three to four days.
Peterson characterized Nance’s meth trafficking as not a huge amount, “but really significant for this area and a sharp increase for other cases he had seen.
“This was not a small-time operation here,” Peterson said.
Nance’s attorney, Chris Gramstrup, sought the statutory five-year mandatory minimum sentence for selling more than 50 grams of meth. Gramstrup said his client has worked as a welder in Pennsylvania and at Fraser Shipyards; for a restoration company; and ran the leather shop with a partner before health issues and the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to close.
“He accepts responsibility for what he’s done and since arrest he has cooperated with law enforcement and made statements incriminating himself,” Gramstrup said.
Nance told Peterson that he couldn’t recall telling police that he sold a half-pound of meth about every three to four days.
“I know I made a mistake, but I’m not this big bad guy running a big drug ring. I have no gang affiliations … I’m not a monster. I had a rough upbringing, but there’s no excuse,” he said.
Peterson didn’t doubt the half-pound quantity statement police attributed to Nance, saying it was supported by the amount of meth he was selling the informant, “and that’s just one customer.”
Peterson found Nance’s case “puzzling” as he acknowledged that he is a hard worker, had made “impressive contributions” to the communities he has lived in and is remorseful for his crime. Although Peterson said he would depart downward from the advisory sentencing guideline range of 97 to 121 months, the offense warranted a punishment above the mandatory minimum.
“You were dealing a fairly substantial amount of drugs for a fairly substantial amount of time. This was not a momentary lapse of judgement, but a decision to engage in criminal activity, not to support an addiction but for the money,” the judge said.
Peterson ordered Nance, who had been on pre-trial release for seven months, to report to prison on March 1.