BEATRICE – A drug trial got underway today in Gage County District Court, over alleged drug distribution.
61-year-old Steven Caporale is charged with distribution of methamphetamine within one-thousand feet of a playground, in Wymore.


Deputy Gage County Attorney Michael Wehling told a seven-man, five-woman jury the case was developed by a controlled purchase of meth conducted by the Nebraska State Patrol, using a confidential informant. In his opening statement, Wehling said Caporale met with the informant after he had gotten into the defendant’s car at a convenience store lot.


"That vehicle briefly leaves that gas station in Wymore, drives around the block and returns to that same gas station. And you will hear testimony and see evidence that when the confidential informant returns to Investigator Jacobsen, that he no longer had the $300 from the controlled purchase, but instead, a baggie of a white substance", Wehling said.


The prosecution says that substance was meth. Defense attorney Jerry Shelton said in his opening statement that there are glaring problems with the state’s case against Caporale. Shelton told the jury they were not likely to hear directly from the confidential informant.


"This C-I cut a deal in an attempt to make some drug buys, so he would get some benefit out of it. The state claims that this was a controlled buy situation down at the Casey's Store, or near there, in Wymore a little over three years ago. We would submit the evidence will seriously question that", said Shelton.
Shelton said rather than a controlled buy, “this was an uncontrolled situation”.


Deputy Gage County Attorney Justin Huber called to the witness stand Nebraska State Patrol drug investigator, Nathan Jacobsen, who testified to the use of the confidential informant who was fitted with a recording device, and to monitoring conversations, both by phone and in person.


Law officers maintain that a sale of meth for $300 took place within one-thousand feet of a playground at McCandless Park, across U.S. Highway 77 from the convenience store…on May 19th, 2016.