YORK – James D. Cooper, 37, of Greencastle, Ind., has pleaded no contest in a case that started after a vehicle break-down along Interstate 80.
Cooper appeared in York County District Court this week, along with his attorney, York County Public Defender David Michel.
The case began when a trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) was on Interstate 80, and he saw two vehicles pulled over on the eastbound shoulder.
The trooper says in his affidavit that he turned around for a motorist assist and two men at the scene said the front vehicle had broken down and they’d already called a tow truck.
James D. Cooper, 37, of Greencastle, Ind., was an occupant of the vehicle and the trooper said he smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
According to court documents, during a probable cause search, troopers found marijuana and one used syringe with the needle attached. “There was a clear liquid and blood in the syringe,” documents say.
The trooper asked to see Cooper’s arms and observed several wounds that appeared to be from a needle. Cooper said he donates plasma and the syringe belonged to one of his friends who uses heroin but stated it was not his. He also said he used to use heroin but does not anymore. He also said the bag, where the syringe was found, was his.
Troopers say they found four small plastic bags in Cooper’s wallet, which contained a powdery residue. The residue field-tested as an opioid.
The trooper said he spoke with the owner of the broken-down vehicle who said he was taking Cooper back to Indiana due to Cooper being involved in illegal activity in Colorado, who also stated Cooper has a history of drug abuse and heroin use.
The contraband was sent to the NSP crime lab for more accurate identification.
Cooper was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony.
A plea agreement was reached in which the charge against Cooper was amended to attempted possession of a controlled substance, a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a possible maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
After Cooper pleaded no contest, Michel asked if his client could be sentenced right away – but Judge James Stecker ordered a pre-sentence investigation so to better know Cooper’s criminal history and other information.