Minot woman sentenced for intent to deal meth

A 31-year-old Minot woman will serve up to three years in prison for intending to deal methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine and for violating the terms of her probation.

Laura Jean Nelson pleaded guilty to possession of meth with intent to deliver, a Class B felony dating back to Feb. 27, and to possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C felony dating back to Nov. 22, 2017, on Friday in district court in Minot. Judge Doug Mattson sentenced her to five years in prison on each charge, with a requirement that she serve two years in prison, followed by three years in supervised probation. The sentences on the two charges are concurrent. Nelson also acknowledged violating the terms of her probation in other cases and Mattson revoked her probation and sentenced her to three years on the probation revocation, concurrent with the sentences on drug dealing and drug possession. Mattson said the terms of parole are stricter than probation and he wants to give Nelson an incentive to reform. She might be released earlier, but could be sent back to prison if she violates parole conditions.

Nelson’s lawyer, Kalli Hoffmann, asked that Mattson recommend that Nelson be sent to drug treatment while she is in prison.

“I’m wondering if she’s ready for treatment or if it’s a waste of space,” said Mattson, who said the state legislature decriminalized many drug offenses during the last session but failed to provide enough funding for treatment. There are limited resources and treatment beds should go to people who are ready to take advantage of treatment, he said. Mattson said Nelson’s new offenses were committed while she was already on probation.

Nelson said she thinks she’s ready for treatment and getting charged with new offenses keeps getting older every time.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she told the judge.

Mattson remained skeptical.

“I would have figured it would have been a bit old by your second or third case,” said Mattson. “This is your fifth one.”

Mattson also has ordered that Nelson receive a chemical dependency evaluation while she is in prison. If she qualifies for the drug treatment program offered by the prison system, Mattson said he does not object to her receiving treatment.

Nelson has other pending charges that have not yet been resolved, possession of heroin with intent to deliver and possession of meth with intent to deliver, both Class B felonies, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. She was charged with those offenses last week. A preliminary hearing in those cases is scheduled for May 24 before Judge Stacy Louser.