CLINTON — A Clinton woman was granted a suspended sentence and placed on probation in connection with two felony drug charges.
Mindy M. Fernandez, 27, no address given, appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court for sentencing for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, namely methamphetamine, a Class C felony, and failure to affix a drug tax stamp, a Class D felony. Fernandez entered a plea June 1 on both charges.
District Court Judge Henry Latham granted defense attorney John Kies’ request for a suspended sentence. Latham decided to give Fernandez an opportunity to use community resources available on her first felony offense. He did warn Fernandez she will need to change her friends and follow the recommendations and advice given to her by her probation officer.
“You have to follow every rule,” Latham said. “Otherwise, you’ll find yourself back here.”
Latham suspended sentences not to exceed 10 years for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, namely methamphetamine, and not to exceed five years for failure to affix a drug tax stamp. Fines of $1,000 and $750 were suspended. Latham ordered Fernandez to successfully complete programming at the work release center, obtain mental health and substance abuse evaluations and follow through with treatment, abstain from using alcohol and controlled substances, submit to random drug testing and obtain her high school equivalency diploma. The court approved attorney fees not to exceed $1,000. Latham found Fernandez indigent and assessed attorney fees to the state of Iowa.
“I hope you understand the gift that was given to you today,” Latham said.
According to the affidavit, at 9:25 p.m. April 10, officers responded to a disturbance with a report of a man and woman yelling at each other near a van and truck at Advanced Storage, 1345 11th Ave. South. Officers arrived and saw a gray 1999 Ford Windstar van with an Iowa license plate leaving the easternmost exit of Advanced Storage onto 11th Avenue South.
A woman was driving and a man was in the front passenger seat. An officer saw the rear registration lamp did not work as the van turned east on 11th Avenue South. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the van in the 1100 block of 11th Avenue South. Fernandez was identified as the driver. The officer discovered that her driving privileges were suspended four times for not paying Iowa fines. Fernandez had no proof of insurance for the van. The officer arrested Fernandez for driving under suspension.
The affidavit states officers conducted an inventory of the van prior to it being towed for no insurance. The officer opened a zebra-print, unlocked metal case that was on the floor between the middle seats and the third row of seats. A prescription bottle was inside the case with what appeared to be methamphetamine in a form called ice. The officer later weighed the methamphetamine in the prescription bottle and it weighed 59.8 grams.
An officer also found several small bags commonly used for the packaging of methamphetamine for sale, a pink-handled knife and a pink, leopard-print lighter inside the case. An officer opened an unlocked, silver, metal case that was on the floor behind the driver’s seat. The officer found inside the case a smaller unlocked metal case with two clear plastic bags with the same ice-style methamphetamine, a glucose testing bottle with more methamphetamine and a digital scale. The bags later weighed 1.4 grams and 0.7 grams with packaging. The methamphetamine in the bottle weighed 0.4 grams without packaging.
The affidavit states an officer went to his patrol vehicle and read Fernandez her Miranda Rights. Ferandez denied possessing methamphetamine and asked the officer to get her other smartphone with a case on it. The officer went to retrieve the phone. The officer learned the second officer found the phone inside the larger silver-colored case behind the driver’s seat where the smaller case with methamphetamine was found. A male who was in the vehicle with Fernandez stated he purchased small quantities of methamphetamine from Fernandez on at least two occasions prior to April 10.