Omaha Repeat Offender Sentenced to 450 Months for Drug and Firearm Offenses
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska
United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Prince L. Spellman, 39, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and phencyclidine (PCP), possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm. On September 30, 2022, Spellman was convicted by a federal jury. United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher sentenced Spellman to imprisonment for a term of 450 months. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release from prison, Spellman will begin a 5-year term of supervised release.
On the evening of March 8, 2021, Omaha police officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert in the area of 2877 Fort Street in Omaha. The officers observed a silver Jeep Cherokee in the area which appeared to be consistent with 911 callers’ descriptions of a suspect vehicle involved in the shots fired incident. The officers followed the Jeep and obtained the license plate number and registration information but did not have sufficient information to stop it at that time. Thereafter, they returned to the area of 5628 N. 29th Street, where they obtained additional information from witnesses and collected 9mm bullet casings from the street. The witnesses’ information regarding the suspect vehicle confirmed that the Jeep Cherokee they observed earlier was, in fact, the correct vehicle.
On the following day, March 9, 2021, at about 9:00 p.m., an Omaha Police Department gang unit detective was on patrol in an unmarked police vehicle near 40 Bedford Avenue and observed the vehicle traveling northbound. The Jeep Cherokee was stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant in the area of 30 Taylor Street. Three occupants were ordered from the Jeep. In plain view, on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat, officers observed a pink and black Tanfoglio Witness P-Compact 9mm handgun.
Spellman was the driver of the Jeep and was searched. Officers located a vial of brown liquid in Spellman’s groin that was later determined to contain PCP. Officers also recovered a bag containing approximately 55 grams of white powder, later confirmed as cocaine through lab testing. Lastly, officers found a bottle containing 100 blue pills stamped "M”, which were later determined to contain fentanyl. Spellman, who has an extensive record of felony convictions, was arrested. His prior felony convictions include Robbery, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Criminal Impersonation (False Information), Strangulation, all in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, and multiple offenses involving firearms including a prior conviction for Felon in Possession of a Firearm in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.
Employees of the Omaha Police Department later examined the firearm recovered from the Jeep and casings recovered on March 8, 2021 and determined that the firearm Jeep was the same firearm used during the shots fired call requiring the police response on the evening of March 8, 2021.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with the support of and investigation by the following Project Guardian partners: the Omaha Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-announces-launch-project-guardian-nationwide-strategic-plan.
Updated January 5, 2023