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3 years in prison for selling pot in Culver's lot

Two men involved with the intent to sell marijuana in Mitchell last summer were sentenced Tuesday.

Eric Ewing, 21, of Mitchell, received a three-year prison sentence for his intent to sell marijuana in the Culver’s parking lot.

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The man who drove him to Mitchell from Sioux Falls, Derek Olson, 19, of Brandon, was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term.

The two men were caught in the Culver’s parking lot at 11:18 p.m. June 6 with 11.69 ounces of marijuana.

Despite admitting his mistakes and asking for an opportunity to do well on probation, Judge Tim Bjorkman sentenced Ewing to five years in prison, with two years suspended.

“Someone selling drugs for money is acting contrary to public interest,” Bjorkman said. “They’re preying on people’s addictions.”

Bjorkman also gave Ewing a $1,000 fine and credit for one day served in jail. He must pay $104 in court costs and $69.99 in prosecution costs. His first opportunity for parole will be in October. He began serving his prison term immediately.

Attorney Phil Carlson said Olson had an idea he was driving Ewing to sell drugs, but was never told directly that was the purpose of the trip.

“I’d invite you to turn to the back of the courtroom and watch your parents for a moment,” Bjorkman said to Olson during sentencing. “I’ve been noticing the pain on their faces.”

Bjorkman told Olson he can’t be a productive member of society or fulfill any of his ideas of owning a construction company if he smokes marijuana every day, like he admitted to doing for the last three years.

Bjorkman sentenced Olson to 90 days in jail, 30 of which he must serve immediately. He received credit for one day he served. Bjorkman also told Olson he must use his best efforts to get a job.

He will serve 20 days starting June 1, 20 days starting Oct. 1 and 20 days Feb. 1, 2015. If he is employed full time at any of those times, he will not serve his jail time.

He must also repay court appointed attorney fees, cannot use or be around alcohol or drugs, cannot participate in or be around gambling, must enroll in the 24/7 Sobriety program, and complete any evaluation, counseling, treatment or aftercare recommended by court services. He must also pay $104 in court costs, a $500 fine and $69.99 in prosecution costs and serve three years of probation.