Yankton man arrested in sex trafficking operation

Yankton man arrested in sex trafficking operation


Man arrested in sex trafficking operation

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A Yankton, South Dakota, man is among six people who have been arrested in a sex trafficking investigation in Rapid City.

Jeremiah Stertz, 30, pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Rapid City to attempted enticement of a minor using the internet. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Rapid City.

According to court documents, state and federal authorities targeted online predators during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which began Aug. 3 and ended Sunday.

Stertz is accused of making contact online with an undercover agent posing as a 15-year-old girl on Aug. 8 and later sending a series of text messages attempting to set up a meeting to have sex. Stertz was arrested later that night in Rapid City.

Also arrested were two men from Rapid City, two from Sturgis and another from Ohio.

Man gets jail time for chase

SIOUX CITY — A Sioux City man was sentenced to jail Tuesday on charges stemming from a police chase through Sioux City’s west side.

Timothy Mercer, 23, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to eluding, fourth-offense operating while intoxicated and assault on a peace officer.

District Judge Duane Hoffmeyer suspended all but 30 days of a one-year jail sentence on the misdemeanor assault charge. Mercer also was sentenced to five years in the state’s OWI Continuum, in which he will be in state custody while undergoing treatment and taking part in other services. A five-year prison sentence on the eluding charge was suspended.

Mercer was placed on two years probation, fined $3,125 and had his driver’s license revoked for 12 years.

Mercer sped away from an officer who attempted to stop him near West Fourth Street and Hamilton Boulevard on Oct. 31. He led police on a chase at speeds exceeding 90 mph onto Riverside Boulevard and through a residential neighborhood before police brought his pickup truck to a stop after he attempted to collide head-on with a police car.

Tests showed Mercer had a blood-alcohol content of 0.114 percent, above Iowa’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Neighborhood shooting was retaliation

SIOUX CITY — Court documents say a 22-year-old man charged with attempted murder wanted to retaliate against his 28-year-old victim when he fired multiple shots at the man as he drove away.

Police arrested Isaac “Gus” McDonald shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, just a few hours after releasing his photo to the public. McDonald is being held at the Woodbury County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24. John Mercure, the man McDonald allegedly shot, remains in critical condition.

According to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in Woodbury County District Court, McDonald, who was armed with a handgun, was a passenger in a car being driven in the Greenville neighborhood on Aug. 1. He was looking to retaliate against Mercure, also known as Miami, but the documents don’t disclose a motive.

After the driver parked the car, which had two passengers besides McDonald, at Third and Logan streets, McDonald allegedly got out and started walking westbound toward a house in the 300 block of Alice Street, where he found Mercure and another man in a parked car.

According to the documents, McDonald fired multiple shots at Mercure as he drove away. Mercure, who was shot in the left side of his head, crashed the car he was driving into a tree. McDonald allegedly fled the scene.

Officers found four shell casings in the grass and two bullets in the car Mercure was driving. Two other bullets struck a neighboring home and garage.

Sioux City Police Lt. Chris Groves said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing.

Work to begin on highway to Vermillion bridge

MASKELL, Neb. — The Nebraska Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin work this week on improvements to the highway leading to the Vermillion bridge over the Missouri River.

Weather permitting, milling will begin this week on Nebraska Highway 15 from its junction with Nebraska Highway 12 near Maskell, north to the bridge.

On Monday, workers will begin to put down an asphalt overlay on the highway. Traffic will be maintained with flaggers and a pilot car. The project is expected to be finished by Aug. 24.

Highway 35 asphalt project underway

WAKEFIELD, Neb. — Asphalt work has begun on a section of highway between Wakefield and Emerson in Nebraska.

According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, milling and asphalt work will be done on Nebraska Highway 9/35 from its west junction north of Wakefield to the east junction at Emerson.

Motorists can expect lane closures, and flaggers and a pilot vehicle will direct traffic through the work zone. The project is expected to be finished in late August.

Jury convicts Sioux City man of selling heroin

SIOUX CITY — A federal jury has found a Sioux City man guilty of selling heroin near several parks and an elementary school.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in Sioux City reached their verdict Tuesday, convicting Shelton Oliver, also known as Sinbad, 47, of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and four counts of distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of a protected location.

Oliver faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Oliver was involved in a conspiracy to sell heroin in Sioux City from 2016 through March 27, 2018. Evidence presented at trial showed that Oliver sold the drug to a confidential informant working with law enforcement four times in February and March. The transactions took place near parks and Hunt Elementary School.

Trial evidence also showed that on Oct. 6, Oliver sold heroin to Ty Olsen, who died from an overdose later that day. Oliver also sold heroin to the informant on March 13 in a vehicle while another man was overdosing in the passenger seat. That man was later revived by medical personnel.

Briar Cliff announces scholarship recipients

SIOUX CITY —Four Briar Cliff University students will receive Presidential Scholarships.

Named were: Brady Brockhaus, Creighton, Nebraska; Madison Ellis, Omaha, Nebraska; Samantha Zeleny, Gretna, Nebraska; and Sophie Kramper, Ponca, Nebraska.

All four Presidential Scholarship recipients will receive full tuition at Briar Cliff beginning this fall. To be eligible for the Presidential Scholarship, a student must have a 3.75 or above GPA and a minimum 26 ACT or 1240 SAT score.

Omaha Reservation market opens

MACY, Neb. — The Omaha Reservation Community Farmers Market has reopened for its fifth season. The events are part of the Omaha Nation Community Garden Project, a joint effort between the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC).

The market is open from 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday through October. Locations rotate between downtown Walthill, Nebraska on Aug. 16 and 30; Sept. 13 and 27; Oct. 11 and 25; and downtown Macy, Nebraska on Aug. 23; Sept. 6 and 20; Oct. 4 and 18.

Along with locally-grown produce, visitors can purchase baked goods and other prepared foods. Authentic Native American buffalo bone carvings, inlaid jewelry, and beadwork from various artists will be available. Native American beaders will offer live jewelry-making demonstrations.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards are accepted.

The market launched in 2013 and has grown to more than 20 vendors in the 2018 season. There is still room for vendors to get involved, and all are welcome, including those from surrounding communities.

If you are interested in becoming a vendor at the Omaha Tribe Community Farmers Market, or would like more information, contact Bounthy at bounthyp@cfra.org, or 722.284.6253.

Copyright 2018 The Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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