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November 21, 2022Grand Island, NE, United StatesNarcotics

Grand Island repeat offender sentenced to 19 years for distributing methamphetamine following joint HSI, law enforcement partner investigation

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City Katherine Greer and Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Austin Kober, 24, of Grand Island, Nebraska, was sentenced today 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 following a joint HSI and law enforcement partner investigation.

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

On two occasions in March 2021, Kober sold methamphetamine to an informant in Grand Island. Methamphetamine 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 Kober for traffic violations and found $699 cash in his pocket; Kober admitted marijuana had been in the car in the past. Police deployed a drug-detection dog around the car. The dog alerted and indicated to the odor of narcotics. During the subsequent search, investigators found $1,500 in cash in the center console and a half-pound of methamphetamine in the back seat. The crime lab confirmed the presence of at least 240 grams of 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 methamphetamine. Two witnesses told investigators they had received methamphetamine from Kober on multiple occasions in 2020 and 2021.

This case was investigated by HSI, 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, HSI, Hall County Sheriff, Hastings Police Department, Adams County Sheriff, Kearney Police Department, Buffalo County Sheriff, Nebraska State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Homeland Security Investigations

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat drug trafficking in your community on Twitter @HSIKansasCity.

Updated: 11/25/2022