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Grand Island repeat offender sentenced to 19 years for distributing meth

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Authorities say two men who were arrested at New York's Penn Station after antisemitic threats were posted on social media represented a real danger. Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that the threats were not "idle" Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer were arrested late Friday after threats that authorities linked to Brown. Adams joined officials for a news conference Monday, and said officers recovered a Glock semi-automatic firearm, a ghost gun with an extended 30-round magazine and laser sights, a large hunting knife, a black ski mask and a Nazi armband, following the arrests. "A Nazi armband in New York City in 2022....think about that for a moment," Adams added. Both men face weapons charges. Brown was also charged with making a terrorist threat. Police say Brown tweeted that he was going to ask a priest if he should "become a husband or shoot up a synagogue and die." Messages seeking comment were left with attorneys for the two men. NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the public should: "remain vigilant and monitor threats of any kind, symbols of hate written online are posted on social media every day." She added that "The job of the NYPD and our colleagues here is to put public safety first and protect the people of this city."

Austin Kober, 24, of Grand Island, was sentenced Friday by United States District Court Judge John M. Gerrard to a term of 228 months’ imprisonment following his conviction for distribution of 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.

The sentence was enhanced because Kober was deemed to be a career offender. After he completes his prison sentence, he will also serve five years on supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

On two occasions in March 2021, Kober sold meth to an informant in Grand Island. Meth from one of the sales was sent to the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab, where an analyst confirmed the presence of at least 106 grams of pure methamphetamine.

On May 26, 2021, investigators saw short-term traffic to and from Kober’s residence, then saw him leave in a Chevy Impala. Police stopped the car due to traffic violations. Police found $699 cash in Kober’s pocket and he admitted marijuana had been in the car in the past. Police deployed a drug-detection dog around Kober’s car. The dog signaled and indicated to the odor of narcotics. During a search of Kober’s car, investigators found $1,500 in cash in the center console and a half-pound of meth in the back seat. The Crime Lab confirmed the presence of at least 240 grams pure methamphetamine.

Investigators served a search warrant at Kober’s residence, where they found a drug ledger, a vacuum sealer machine, vacuum sealer bags, marijuana and a box of baggies. Investigators interviewed Kober, who admitted to dealing meth. Two witnesses told investigators they had received meth from Kober on multiple occasions between 2020 and 2021.

This case was investigated by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force, which is made up of officers from the Grand Island Police Department, Hall County Sheriff, Hastings Police Department, Adams County Sheriff, Kearney Police Department, Buffalo County Sheriff, Nebraska State Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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