Casper Man Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years for Drug, Gun Charges
A Casper man was sentenced to five years, 11 months imprisonment for separate gun and drug crimes during a hearing in federal court in Casper on Thursday.
Ryan Jase Harkins heard the sentence from Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl who said the prison terms would be served concurrently, or at the same time.
Skavdahl also ordered Harkins to serve three years of supervised probation after his release from custody, receive residential drug treatment, maintain sobriety, stay current on child support, pay $500 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, and other requirements.
During the hearing, Harkins' attorney Christina Cherni asked that an enhancement should be dismissed about the severity of the crime because a pistol found in a locked safe during a police search.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Coppom objected, saying the pistol was next to Harkins' identification, drugs and other evidence, and the enhanced penalty should remain.
Skavdahl agreed with Coppom.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, Harkins said, "I'd just like to apologize to my children and family."
The case started in October, when law enforcement raided his house on M Street on a warrant to obtain security cameras with possible evidence of suspected drug trafficking, but when they entered his house they saw illicit drugs in plain sight and obtained another warrant.
In March, he pleaded guilty to being felon in possession of a firearm, which is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment; and possession with intent to distribute a mixture of a substance containing methamphetamine, which is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.
Harkins pleaded guilty to these two counts after he waived his right to have his case presented to a grand jury.
His sentence was scheduled for June 13, but was delayed shortly before that when he, through his attorney Cherni, filed a motion to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea.
On Friday, Skavdahl held a hearing about that motion with Cherni saying Harkins should not have pleaded guilty because the second warrant during the October search was invalid and all evidence recovered with that warrant should be suppressed.
Coppom objected, saying the police conducted the searches correctly, that if Harkins went to trial and found guilty his punishment would be harsher than that outlined in the plea agreement, and a retrial would inconvenience the court and waste its resources.
Skavdahl added that Harkins said during his plea agreement that he was satisfied with his representation, that all his questions were answered, that he pleaded guilty because he in fact was guilty, and other issues.
Skavdahl said he would take the motion under advisement and decide on it later.
He denied the motion later that day and set the sentencing for Thursday.