United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Vincent Battese, age 24, of Lower Brule, appeared before United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange on August 16, 2011, and pled guilty to an indictment that charged him with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. The maximum penalty upon conviction is five years in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both.
On October 26, 2009, a Lower Brule K-9 police officer observed Vincent Battese operating a motor vehicle. The officer was aware that Battese did not have a valid driver's license and that he had an active warrant for his arrest. The officer initiated a traffic stop. Battese pulled into the driveway of a residence and attempted to elude the officer by running into the house. The officer pursued Battese into the residence. Battese was arrested and found to be in possession of nine baggies containing 1.95 ounces/55.3 grams of marijuana. Battese attempted to hide one of the baggies from the officer by throwing it. Two baggies were found in his back pocket, and the other six were located in the vehicle Battese was driving after the Police K-9 alerted on it.
On November 9, 2009, agents with the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at Vincent Battese's residence. During the search they found a Western Union receipt in the amount of $976, a digital scale, a hand scale, a grinder which tested positive for marijuana, four marijuana roaches (.087 grams), 33 marijuana joints (4.7 grams), two cell phones, an empty pistol magazine, phone and bank records. A urine sample was collected from Battese that came back positive for marijuana/THC (366 mg/ml).
Battese made trips to purchase marijuana that he would then sell to several others. The drug quantity attributable to the defendant is at least 250 grams, but less than 1 kilogram, of marijuana.
The investigation was conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Miller.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for October 25, 2011. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.