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Press Release

Lincoln Man Sentenced to Eight Years for Possession of Drugs and Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Joseph Thompson, 24, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was sentenced today by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard to a total of 100 months in prison following his conviction for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. After he completes his prison sentence, Thompson will serve five years on supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

On April 29, 2021, Lincoln Police investigators searched a Lincoln hotel room and found a backpack containing marijuana, pills, and a firearm magazine speed loader. At various locations in the hotel room, investigators found more marijuana, a scale, more pills, and a 9 mm pistol. The firearm was located under a TV cabinet, was loaded, had an extended magazine attached, and was found to be stolen in 2017 out of McKinney, Texas.

Hotel surveillance video showed Thompson carrying the same backpack into the hotel room. Police interviewed Thompson, who admitted there was marijuana in the hotel room that belonged to him. Investigators seized Thompson’s cell phone from the hotel room and obtained a search warrant. Data from the phone showed evidence of drug dealing and firearms possession.  Phone content spanning March through April 2021 included photos and videos of guns of various makes and calibers. For example, an April 28 photo depicted a gun with extended magazine and light attachment that appeared to be the same gun found under the TV cabinet in the hotel room on April 29. A March 29 video showed Thompson holding a gun with an extended magazine. An April 4 video showed Thompson threatening to kill unknown persons while holding a gun. An April 6 video showed a hand displaying numerous pills with the caption, “Shop Open.” A video from April 23 showed Thompson wearing body armor and displaying a handgun.

Drugs taken during the hotel search were sent to the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab where a forensic scientist confirmed the presence of marijuana and the presence of methamphetamine in some of the pills. Investigators also obtained cell phone data from one of the individuals seen on hotel surveillance video coming and going from the hotel room. Data from the phone showed communication from Thompson consistent with drug distribution spanning February to March 2021.

During an unrelated investigation stemming from a July 8, 2021, shooting in Lincoln, investigators again seized Thompson’s phone, and obtained a search warrant. Data from the phone showed Thompson’s continued firearm possession and drug distribution between April and July 2021.

Thompson is a felon because of a 2017 conviction for Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds.

This case was investigated by the Lincoln Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


Michael Norris, Criminal Chief (402) 661-3700

Updated December 9, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses