Two Lincoln men shot in the parking lot of Edgewood Cinema on Aug. 2 now are facing drug and gun charges themselves, along with a third man in the car with them.
A grand jury has indicted Christopher Duncan, 18; Jayden Prentice, 19; and Riley Mills, 19; for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine and psilocyn and possession of two firearms — a Romarm/Cugir Mini Draco 7.62 x 39 mm-caliber firearm and a Taurus 9 mm-caliber handgun — in furtherance of the drug crime.
The drug charge carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and the gun charge an additional seven years to life.
The indictment didn't make clear the amount of drugs found in the car or where or how exactly the guns were found.
And Mike Norris, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he couldn't provide any additional information, including why the alleged shooter hasn't been charged federally at this point.
But, at a hearing last week, Lincoln Police Officer Brian Agnew, a detective in the gang unit, testified that they found Duncan on the ground, a trail of blood from him to the driver's side door of his Mercedes.
There was a .45-caliber handgun found between Duncan's car and where he collapsed. Agnew said the gun was believed to have been dropped by the suspected shooter, who was in a Kia.
There was a second pool of blood, where Prentice had been pulled out of the passenger front seat of the car. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Molsen showed Agnew a photo of the front-seat passenger side of the car.
"And in the picture, do we see what was later discovered to be approximately a half-pound of marijuana in a Ziploc bag?'" he asked.
Agnew said the bag had been next to Prentice's legs or feet, along with a Taurus 9mm handgun, and a backpack with more marijuana.
They found a bag of pills marked to look like Xanax in the trunk, though testing revealed it wasn't a controlled substance.
He said they also found a large amount of currency spilling out of the backseat, where Mills had been, a single shell casing next to the money and the Mini Draco in the backseat.
Mills wasn't injured in the shooting.
Two weeks after the shooting, police arrested Buongkhoy Wal, 17, and state prosecutors charged him in state court with first-degree assault and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony for his alleged role in the shooting.
They allege Wal fired at the teens, striking Prentice, but said investigators believe there were additional passengers in the Kia, which was found days later with two bullet holes on the passenger side.
The alleged driver, Xavier Gary, 17, also was charged with being an accessory to the shooting.
Police said Wal had arranged to meet with Prentice and Duncan in the theater parking lot and described the shooting as "targeted."
In the new indictment, the three teenagers have since made first appearances on the charges and have pleaded not guilty. Duncan, whose leg had to be amputated as a result of the shooting, has been released pending trial. Prentice and Mills remain in custody.
They were given a tentative trial date in December.
On Thursday, Prentice's family expressed concerns about Prentice not being able to access the care he needs at the Saline County Jail, where he's being held on the indictment, and said he has to resort to buying soft foods from the commissary.
They told the Journal Star he still is recovering after being shot.
The bullet tore through his cheek and neck before lodging near his spinal cord, ear canal and throat, requiring extensive surgeries and ongoing therapy.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Zwart denied a motion to release Prentice pending trial at the end of a hearing last week.
Prentice's federal public defender, Jessica Milburn, said she understood the concerns but that Prentice has changed so much in the last couple of months as a result of the shooting, and that the risk of danger has subsided considerably.
She said he could be placed with his mother safely.
"I don't think it should be overlooked that Mr. Prentice was a victim in this case," Milburn said. "He could have died."
Molsen said it looks like this was probably a robbery.
"The fact that Prentice's group essentially lost the gunfight … is nothing more than a matter of luck," he said. "The situation could have easily been reversed where the other side was shot."
He said any number of people in the shopping area could have caught a stray bullet and been shot.
Lancaster County's biggest drug seizures
I-80 bust turned up $100K, led to 1,830 pounds of drugs, sheriff’s captain says
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office says it found $103,194 in suspected drug money and arrested a 25-year-old North Carolina man in a traffic stop on Interstate 80 west of Lincoln shortly before 10 a.m. Friday.
Capt. Ben Houchin said Brandon Montoya, of Charlotte, was stopped in a westbound Toyota Tundra for following too closely and driving on the shoulder. During the stop, Houchin said, the deputy developed suspicions Montoya was involved in illegal activity. A search turned up the money, which was sealed and in a suitcase, and a ledger.
Houchin said deputies reached out to law enforcement in Charlotte, where Montoya lives and rents a storage unit, believing that there was a strong possibility they would find a large amount of narcotics there.
He said the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department took the information, got search warrants and found 1,290 pounds of marijuana and THC edibles in Montoya's storage unit and at his home, tens of thousands of empty and loaded bottles of THC oil, marijuana cigar tubes and THC vape cartridges, 10 pounds of THC wax, 40 pounds of marijuana, packing materials, a 9mm Glock handgun and $90,000 in cash.
Houchin said the drugs added up to 1,831 pounds.
Pair accused of hauling 645 pounds of pot on I-80 through Lincoln area
Two men remained at the Lancaster County jail Thursday, a day after prosecutors charged them in connection with 645 pounds of marijuana found in their rental truck.
Brandon Arrington, 30, of McDonough, Georgia, and Edward Babb of Houston both are facing four felonies: two counts of possession with intent to deliver and two counts of no drug tax stamp.
In an affidavit for their arrests, a Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy said he stopped a GMC Penske rental truck with Virginia plates Tuesday after seeing its passenger side tires cross onto the shoulder of Interstate 80 near the Lincoln Airport exit.
During the traffic stop, the deputy became suspicious the men were involved in criminal activity.
They both denied a request to search the truck, but the deputy deployed his police dog around it after seeing what he believed to be marijuana residue on the floorboard.
The search turned up 645 pounds of marijuana and 4.74 pounds of THC vapor pens in the truck's cargo area inside cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic wrap, according to court records.
On Wednesday, at their first court appearances on the charges, Lancaster County Judge Matt Acton set their bonds at $250,000.
515 pounds of marijuana
$1 million in vacuum-sealed bags
$500K of meth
300 pounds of marijuana
55 pounds of cocaine
$235K in cake mix cans
250 pounds of marijuana in fake compartment
218 pounds of marijuana
214 pounds of marijuana
145 pounds of marijuana
116 pounds of marijuana
110 pounds of marijuana, shatter
Lancaster County deputies find 109 lbs of pot in I-80 traffic stop
A California woman was arrested Friday morning after Lancaster County sheriff's deputies found more 100 pounds of marijuana in her vehicle during a traffic stop.
At about 9:30 a.m., Pakou J. Yang, 37, of Oroville, was pulled over on Interstate 80 about three miles east of the Pleasant Dale interchange for following another vehicle too closely.
During the stop, a deputy determined the 2018 Nissan that Yang was driving was a one-way rental, which the deputy described in court records as a common sign of drug trafficking. She also became "extremely nervous" while being questioned by the deputy.
Deputies searched the vehicle after a drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of drugs. They found 109.5 pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana in the trunk, according to court records.
Yang was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp. She remained in jail Friday on $50,000 bail.
Lincoln drug bust nets an estimated $125K in pills, pot, LSD and mushrooms
Investigators with the Lincoln/Lancaster Narcotics Task Force carried a search warrant into a home on the 2800 block of North Third Street on Friday, and they carried out a lot more.
They found more than 4 pounds of marijuana, nearly 3 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, 3,604 oxycodone pills, 1,281 Alprazolam pills, 855 hits of LSD, 209 THC syringes, nearly $2,300 in cash and four firearms.
The drugs had an estimated street value of about $125,000, Lincoln Police Officer Erin Spilker said Tuesday.
The seizure started just before 9 a.m., when investigators visited the home on a tip that someone was selling drugs out of it, she said.
They contacted three men: 22-year-old Gustav Rockey, his roommate and a 20-year-old visitor.
The visitor had an outstanding warrant — and THC wax in his wallet — and was arrested. Rockey and his roommate each turned over a glass pipe and bags of marijuana and were allowed to leave.
Investigators then applied for the search warrant and found the drugs, guns and cash in the home.
They found Rockey three days later near First Street and Cornhusker Highway and arrested him on three counts of suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to deliver, possession of money while violating a drug law and possession of a firearm with a drug law violation.
They’re still searching for others who live in the house, Spilker said.
$118,000 in suspected drug money
100 pounds of marijuana
100 pounds of marijuana
Father and son arrested in cocaine bust, Lincoln police say
A father and son were arrested Thursday by the Lancaster County Narcotics Unit after investigators found 6.8 pounds of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and almost $4,000 in cash at an apartment complex near Capitol Beach.
Police arrested Russell Rucks Sr., 50, and Russell Rucks Jr., 28, on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and money during a drug violation.
Officer Erin Spilker said the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant at the apartment where both live at 500 Surfside Drive as part of an ongoing drug investigation.
Investigators had been looking for the elder Rucks and ended up arresting both men prior to the warrant being served. Spilker said Rucks Sr. had 8.9 grams of cocaine and over $1,600 cash in his pocket.
She said the search at the apartment turned up drugs throughout the apartment they shared.
22 pounds of meth
$30,000 worth of drugs
Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @LJSpilger
Reporter Chris Dunker contributed to this story.