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Bismarck man pleads guilty to federal drug charges

Bismarck man pleads guilty to federal drug charges

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A Bismarck man arrested in September for possessing $29,000 worth of illegal narcotics was not a hand-to-hand dealer but profited from the sales by providing an apartment so others could conduct business, he told a federal judge Monday.

Bernard Noland, 38, was arrested after police say they found a handgun in his car and more than 400 oxycodone pills in his motel room. He pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland.

Noland lived in Michigan at the time but rented an apartment in Bismarck as his part in a scheme to sell drugs, he told the judge. He returned to Bismarck after suspecting he was being cut out of the profits he’d been promised. The other parties involved told him they were selling oxycodone pills for $40, but he learned the street price was $50-$75.

He was trying to straighten out the business arrangement when he was arrested.

“The situation happened, and we've got to face it now,” Noland said.

Neither the arrangement nor the price of the drugs -- nor the lies about it -- surprised Hovland, who said he’s probably sentenced 50 people from Detroit and Milwaukee “for selling oxy blues in Bismarck, North Dakota.”

“I know their game,” he said.

Noland pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver drugs and conspiracy with intent to deliver drugs. He could spend almost six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Factors such as his criminal history, his behavior while out of jail on bail, and what part, if any, the handgun played in the drug deals, will be considered in the sentencing on April 7, Hovland said. 

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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