Nebraska man sentenced up to 20 years on meth charges in Berrien County

NILES – A former Berrien Springs resident is going to prison after being caught dealing methamphetamines last year.

Brandon Allen Goode, 29, of Arthur, Nebraska, formerly of Old U.S. 31 in Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to delivery of methamphetamines and was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court to 24 months to 20 years in prison. He must pay $318 in fines and costs. He has credit for six days served.

The incident occurred Feb. 21, 2019, at the River Springs Estates mobile home park in Berrien Springs when he sold drugs to a Southwest Michigan Drug Enforcement Team member.

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said Goode can serve his prison term in boot camp if he’s determined to be eligible.

Judge Schrock said his hands were tied because of the sentencing guidelines set down by the state legislature. “The legislature says that if you deliver meth, you go to prison,” he said. “It’s a serious offense.”

Defense attorney Scott Sanford said Goode was recently in a car accident and suffered injuries.

Goode was previously sentenced to probation in 2017 to killing/torturing on animals. In that incident, he started hitting and choking a beagle while he was drunk.

In another meth sentence, a Berrien Springs man got a break from the judge and received probation rather than prison.

Glenn Allen Ault, 50, of Old 31 in Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to first offense delivery of methamphetamines and was sentenced to three years’ probation in the Swift & Sure Program, credit for eight days already served, 180 days tether and $1,108 in fines, costs and restitution.

The incident occurred July 26, 2019,  at River Springs Estates in Berrien Springs when he sold meth to an undercover police officer.

Defense attorney Kaitlin Locke argued successfully for probation sentence rather than prison. She noted that this was Ault’s first felony conviction and he has had no bond violations since last December.

Locke said Ault has been an addict almost his entire life and is now getting counseling.

“His family didn’t want to have anything to do with him and that has all changed,” she said. “He’s a completely different person than when he was arraigned in December.”

“One of the silver linings of COVID is that he had an extra two and a half months to prove that he can be successful,” she added. “I believe there are substantial and compelling reasons to depart downward … He has shown a lot of self-discipline and a very large desire to improve himself.”

She noted that if the sentencing guidelines would be for local jail if it had been heroin and not meth.

Judge Schrock sentenced Ault to probation although he said he was a little bit skeptical.

“You’re way too mature to get to this point in life,” he said. “It took you a long time to get to where you are.”

Schrock said he found substantial and compelling reasons to deviate downwards from the prison guidelines. He noted that this is Ault’s first felony and that it didn’t look like he was a drug dealer. He noted however that he will send Ault to prison if he violates his probation.

In another sentencing, a homeless man arrested at the Niles Martin’s in May was sentenced to probation and jail.

David James Lugardo, 47, pleaded guilty to attempted unarmed robbery and was sentenced to two years’ probation in the Swift & Sure program, 120 days jail with credit for 48 days served, $755.95 in fines, costs and restitution. He can serve the rest of his jail term in the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program.

The incident occurred May 4 at the Niles Martin’s. Police were called when he stole food and drink from the grocery store. When confronted by store employees, he forced his way out of the store where police picked him up. Lugardo has a possession of meth charge dismissed.

“I knew what I did was wrong,” Lugardo said. “I apologize to the court and to Martin’s. I gave the stuff back at Martin’s, but my anxiety got bad and I pushed through to get outside where I waited for police. I am working, my job is on hold. I will be able pay back what I owe. know I shouldn’t have done it.”