Wis. man gets prison for using cocaine in his jail cell

One of four inmates will spend a year in prison for using drugs in his jail cell


Dan Holtz
Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY, Wis. — One of four Eau Claire County Jail inmates accused of using cocaine in his jail cell will spend one year in prison.

Neal White Jr., 34, 633½ Putnam St., pleaded no contest in Eau Claire County Court to a felony count of second-offense possession of cocaine and unrelated misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and intimidation of a victim.

Judge Sarah Harless ordered White to spend two years on extended supervision following his release from prison.

White was fined $1,604.

As conditions of supervision, White cannot have contact with known drug dealers or users.

Co-defendant Emanuel B. Gibson, 31, of Eau Claire, was previously sentenced to three years of probation.

Co-defendants Jordan T. Griffith, 26, and Michael W. Pederson, 27, both of Eau Claire, return to court April 18 and Oct. 31, respectively.

Authorities said none of the inmates would identify the source of the cocaine from inside the jail.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Nov. 23, jailers were advised of a concern about the presence of drugs in the E-block housing unit at the Eau Claire County Jail.

A jail officer observed Pederson entering his cell at 8:33 p.m., retrieve something from underneath his mattress and then sniff something.

Jail officers searched Pederson’s cell and found cocaine under his mattress.

Officers searched the rest of E-block and found no other drugs.

Pederson said he had been using cocaine all evening. He said he received the cocaine from another inmate and used it as a means of coping.

Pederson said cocaine was freely available in E-block, and he had been using it since he arrived at the jail 12 days earlier.

Pederson said nearly every inmate in E-block was aware of the presence of cocaine, and several inmates had been using cocaine in the jail.

During a urinalysis, Pederson tested positive for both cocaine and marijuana.

The next day, jailers removed seven inmates from E-block and had them tested.

Four tested positive for cocaine, while three tested negative for drugs.

Given those results, jailers decided to collect urine samples from all inmates housed in E-block.

Gibson, White and another inmate tested positive for cocaine. Griffith refused to provide a sample but admitted to using cocaine.

White confessed he acquired cocaine in the jail and took “one or two snorts.” He would not identify the source of the cocaine.

Gibson and Griffith admitted to receiving and using cocaine in the jail, but they would not identify the source.

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©2019 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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