The United States Coast Guard offloaded drugs worth more than $1.4 billion at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
A western Nebraska drug trafficking operation was dismantled by a joint law enforcement operation recently, according to the FBI.
Five federal arrest warrants and seven state warrants were executed at 6 a.m. Tuesday by the Omaha division of the FBI and the CODE Task Force, which includes the Nebraska State Patrol, the North Platte Police Department, the Lexington Police Department and the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation and arrests targeted a western Nebraska criminal organization, Eugene Kowel, special agent in charge of the Omaha FBI field office, said Friday in a press release.
“Drug-related crimes strangle communities in rural Nebraska," he said. "The CODE task force will continue to work to stop the violence, get drugs and weapons off the streets, and seek justice for those living in the communities they serve.”
The arrest warrants were executed in North Platte, McCook, Kearney, Lincoln, and Culbertson, as well as in northwestern Kansas, according to the FBI. Two additional federal warrants and two state warrants were served on people already in state custody.
Notable Nebraska and Iowa crime news of 2021
Omaha native Brandon Straka, who authorities say is pictured here, was one of the people arrested after the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. He was released from custody and is awaiting his preliminary hearing.
Craig Harbaugh, a former Dodge County sheriff's deputy, pleaded guilty on Feb. 8 to one count of wire fraud. He set up and gun dealership, then bilked a bank and his investors out of $11 million.
The saga of Oliver Glass
Embattled Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass, center, agreed to resign on March 1, and a disciplinary committee has called for an emergency suspension of his law license. In the latest episode of his yearlong legal saga, he is accused of driving drunk in January — while still in probation for a DUI.
Former Omaha gym owner convicted
Douglas Anders was found guilty in February of first-degree sexual assault. The judge said the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Anders coerced a teenage trainee into sex.
Former coach, security guard accused of rape
A woman who is now 21 says Ronald Powell, who was then a security guard at Omaha North High School, sexually assaulted her in a closet at the school in 2015, when she was 15. Powell was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and is awaiting trial.
The sentencing of Aubrey Trail
A three-judge panel met in March to hear arguments on whether Aubrey Trail should be sentenced to death or life in prison for the murder of Sydney Loofe. A sentencing date will be set after final written arguments have been submitted.
Shooting of Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck
Omaha Police Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck was shot in the face and the top of the head on March 12 at the J.C. Penney at Westroads Mall. The accused shooter's bail was set at $10 million.
Drunk driver sentenced for fatal crash
Kenisha Prentice will serve about six years to about 13 years in prison for a crash that killed one man and left another with brain damage. The family of the survivor thought the sentence was too light. It was Prentice's second drunken driving conviction.
Man acquitted in 2016 drive-by killing
Otis Walker was found not guilty in the slaying of Markeise Dunn in March, almost two years after Walker's first trial in the case ended in a mistrial.
Woman accused in slayings of two men
Police say Autum Acacia-Cortes strangled Francisco Santiago to death in late December 2020 or early January 2021, then sliced the throat of Jose C. Martinez because he was telling others about the first slaying. She will stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and tampering with evidence.
Man sentenced in debit card scheme
Over four days in 2016, Randall Hillman stole $33,241 from an Alliance ATM and tried to steal another $36,216. In March, he was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution and fines.
Death row inmate dies at 55
Arthur Lee Gales, who killed two children in Omaha in 2000, died April 3 at the Tecumseh State Prison. Under state law, a grand jury is required to investigate his death.
Former Husker Katerian LeGrone acquitted
Katerian LeGrone, a former Husker football player, was found not guilty of first-degree sexual assault in April. The jury deliberated for about three hours in the case, in which LeGrone was accused of raping a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student in August 2019.
Man convicted in fatal crash
Garrett Bragg, 18, was found guilty of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in April in the death of a concrete truck driver. The prosecution said the actions of the victim, Gregory Brennan, saved Bragg's life in the October 2020 crash on Nebraska Highway 370.
Man pleads no contest to killing sex offender
James Fairbanks contemplated a self-defense claim in April, almost a year after he shot and killed convicted sex offender Mattieo Condoluci, but he ultimately pleaded no contest.
“There are a lot of criminals in the world. You don’t get to confront them and then try to claim self-defense," said Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle.
Douglas County landfill scheme
Five workers at the Douglas County landfill and two business owners who dump waste there are accused of conspiracy to commit theft. Authorities say employees undercharged some dumpers, who in turn paid the employees.
Shooting at Westroads Mall
A man was fatally shot and a woman was wounded at Westroads Mall on April 17, about a month after a police officer was shot at the mall, the site of Omaha's worst mass shooting in 2007. A 16-year-old Omaha boy is being held without bail. His 18-year-old brother was charged with being an accessory to a felony.
Convicted murderer, child molester dies
Patrick Ronald Russell, who was serving a 110- to 126-year prison sentence, died in April. He killed 8-year-old
Joseph "Poogie" Edmonds in Omaha in the 1970s. Read more.
Golf cart rustling
Thieves have absconded with eight golf carts worth more than $50,000 from Omaha courses.
“We’ve heard this is going on up and down the I-80 corridor,” said Bob Baber, the city's golf manager. Read more.
Cold case heats up
Bud Leroy Christensen, a registered sex offender in Nebraska was arrested in April in the 1983 slaying of a UNO student. Authorities say DNA evidence was analyzed with technology not available at the time and was matched to Christensen.
Defendant returns to Nebraska for murder trial
John L. Parks Sr., who was arrested in Texas less than a month after the slaying of two people at a southwest Omaha hotel in July 2020, was extradited to Omaha in March and ordered to stand trial in May. Authorities say he fatally shot a man and woman after he wrongly thought he saw a video of his son's killing on the man's phone.
Teens charged with attempted murder
Two 18-year-olds from Bellevue are accused of attacking the young woman's dad with a meat tenderizer and a wooden rod. They have been charged with attempted first-degree murder and held on $1 million bail.
Man charged in threats
An Arizona man has been accused of making noncredible threats to locations around Omaha, including one that caused Union Pacific to evacuate its headquarters.
Man arrested in April 2020 slaying
Anthony Triplett was arrested in May on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Ebony King in North Omaha more than a year earlier.
Omahan charged in fatal shooting of two men
Mabior M. Mabior is accused of killing Loklok W. Thok and Duop Tang Deng near 24th and Emmet Streets in March. He is being held without bail.
Bellevue man charged in deaths of his children
Adam L. Price was arrested in California on May 16, hours after his children were found dead in Bellevue. He was charged with two counts of felony child abuse resulting in death and decided not to fight his return to Nebraska for trial.
Woman dies after domestic altercation
Omaha police say a 22-year-old woman died days after suffering a head injury. A 23-year-old man has been charged with first-degree domestic assault and two counts of felony child abuse. Additional or upgraded charges may come after the investigation is complete, prosecutors said.
Huge bail set for man who fled to Nicaragua
Adam Hawhee was ordered held on $50 million bail in May after he was brought back to Omaha from Nicaragua. He had earlier skipped a court appearance on child enticement and pornography charges.
“I don’t recall any other bond in history that’s been that high,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said. “Obviously, he earned this.” Read more.
Man accused of committing and filming heinous crime
Police say David J. Coleman of Omaha repeatedly choked his then-girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter in December 2020 — and videotaped it. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June.
Suspect in Sonic shooting faces unrelated charges
Roberto Silva was charged in May in an assault on a fellow Sarpy County Jail inmate. He is accused of killing two people and wounding two others in a shooting at a Sonic Drive-In in Bellevue last year.
Man gets prison time for deadly robbery
Brandon Shepherd was sentenced to 30 to 35 years in prison (cut in half under Nebraska law) for using a dating app to set up a meth robbery that turned fatal. His accomplice,
Dominique Hanks, fired the sot that killed Omahan Michael Streich. Read more.
Man charged in November 2020 slaying
A judge ruled in June that Tip Mut will stand trial on charges of second-degree murder, attempter murder and more. Omaha police say he unintentionally killed his friend Gabriel Miller while shooting at another man, who survived.
Union Omaha player accused in internet romance scam
Abdul Osumanu, right, has been indicted in a scheme in which authorities say he and a co-defendant defrauded two people of more than $214,000 by "falsely cultivating relationships" over the internet and text message. He has pleaded not guilty.
Erica Jenkins wants to change her name
Erica Jenkins, who is serving a life sentence for murder and 20 to 30 years for beating another inmate in the women's prison in York, has asked that her name be legally changed to Elluminati Egoddess Erikka Prestige. She has petitioned the York County District Court for a hearing in July.
Omaha police officer facing felony charges in Sarpy County
Ja’Price Spears is accused of detaining two juveniles who had pounding on doors in his Gretna neighborhood. He w
as charged with two counts of terroristic threats and one count of use of a firearm to commit a felony. Read more.
Two teenagers die after shooting
Two teens were fatally in North Omaha on June 3. Two other teenagers are being sought in connection with the shooting.
Teen's shooting of father ruled self-defense
19-year-old Malik Williams won't face charges for shooting his father in the groin and neck. He said he shot his dad,
46-year-old Lonnie C. Williams, because he had attacked his mother. Read more.
14-year-old among those killed in spike in violence
Desmond Harrison was the youngest of five teens killed by gunfire in a single week in early June. Omaha police said his shooting was being investigated as "retaliatory." Chief Todd Schmaderer said violence is "
a very acute problem we have right now." Read more.
Father charged in 6-month-old's death
Alejandro Flores, 17, has been charged with intentional child abuse in the death of his daughter,
Ruby Flores-Martinez. She suffered significant head trauma on June 3 and died two days later. Flores is being held on $250,000 bail. Read more.
Violent hour: 1 killed, 4 wounded in 2 shootings
Early on June 16, in the middle of a month marred by a rise in homicides in Omaha, a 37-year-old man was killed and four others were wounded in two shootings separated by about 20 minutes. Police Chief Todd
Schmaderer said authorities think that many of the recent shootings are “retaliatory in nature.” Read more.
Man says he killed wife because he could no longer care for her
80-year-old John Kotopka of Lincoln was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 78-year-old wife. He said that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's about two years ago and that he was “exhausted and couldn’t take care of her any longer.”
Omahan held on $10 million bail in sexual assaults
Steven Danon, 65, faces 12 felony charges relating to sexual assaults of children. He is accused of assaulting three boys for years and buying their silence with money and drugs.
Woman faces decades in prison for sexual assaults
Christina M. Greer will serve at least 32 years in prison. A Sarpy County jury found her guilty of sexually assaulting two boys, ages 12 and 13.
Man put a stop to abuse, then assaulted girl himself
A judge sentenced Kokou Domkpo in June for sexually assaulting a girl when she was 15 and 16. The victim said Domkpo "
made her give him sex for getting her out of a previous sexual abuse situation." Read more.
The sentencing trial of Bailey Boswell
A three-judge panel is weighing whether Bailey Boswell should be sentenced to death or life in prison for her role in the murder of Sydney Loofe. A three-day hearing ended in early July, and the judges will announce their decision after written arguments are submitted in August.