IDAHO FALLS — A 28-year-old man was sentenced to prison Wednesday after selling fentanyl pills.
Nickolas Rasmussen was sentenced in the Bonneville County Courthouse in front of District Judge Bruce Pickett and given a one-year determinate prison term with nine years indeterminate.
“I find that you are not a good candidate for probation. I can’t justify putting you on probation with the history of selling substances,” Pickett said in court.
Rasmussen was dressed in a black shirt and had come on his own since he posted bail in April.
He was originally charged with felony delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school back in December. As part of a plea agreement, he agreed to plead guilty to felony delivery of a controlled substance. The delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school enhancement was dismissed.
“He is about 10 to 11 houses down from Hawthorne Elementary and people in Idaho Falls don’t like the idea of selling dope while their kids are walking home from school,” said Sean Johnson, an attorney with the state of Idaho.
Charging documents show on Nov. 23, Rasmussen allegedly sold four “dirty thirty” fentanyl pills to an undercover police detective for $100. Idaho Falls Police, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police continued to set up undercover operations to purchase the drugs. Click here to read more.
“He has had a severe, serious substance abuse addiction since he was about 14 or 15,” said Kelly Mallard, Rasmussen’s lawyer.
Mallard explained that Rasmussen turned his life around at one point. He gained employment, got married, bought a house and was doing very well until the house burnt down.
“Nick has a reoccurring back issue. He and his wife were both on pain meds, legally prescribed. Their pain meds were in some of the damage that went up in the fire. The doctors who prescribed the pain meds would not give him any more,” Mallard said in court. “Foolishly, they sought pain medication on the street. He bought what he thought was simple oxycodone, turned out it had fentanyl, and after buying that a few times, he himself was addicted…”
Mallard explained Rasmussen then started selling to support his own habit and that’s when law enforcement found out.
“He’s an addict who needs help,” Mallard said.
However, he believes that Rasmussen can be successful.
Lance Turman owns a concrete business and employed Rasmussen. Turman was called to the stand.
“He has been great (as an employee),” Turman said.
Turman was asked if he knew prior to hiring Rasmussen about his pending charges.
“Yes…I don’t have a problem hiring people if I think they are sorry,” Turman said.
Later, Rasmussen addressed the court and the judge with tears in his eyes and said he was sorry.
“I’d like to apologize for the actions that I have done. I just wish to see my daughter grow old. I’m just sorry,” he said.
After Rasmussen was sentenced, he was put in handcuffs and taken away.
“The court is going to recommend that you be placed in either their treatment program or a similar program to the rider however it’s in the prison system… or the work facility in St. Anthony. Hopefully, you will take advantage of the training and treatment in the prison system,” said Pickett.
Rasmussen’s wife J’Lynn Rasmussen has a case filed against her for being involved similarly after drug deals with undercover cops. She is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 21 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Rasmussen’s sentence. It has since been corrected. EastIdahoNews.com apologizes for the error.