Grass Valley defendant in drug, gun case takes plea agreement |

Grass Valley defendant in drug, gun case takes plea agreement

A Grass Valley man facing drug and gun charges in connection with a September 2019 arrest was scheduled this week for a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him, as well as a motion to suppress that evidence.

But Joseph Scott Norton, 29, instead opted to take a plea agreement in Nevada County Superior Court, Deputy Public Defender Micah Pierce said.

Norton appeared via video conference Tuesday morning, but Judge Robert Tice-Raskin indicated he would only accept a written plea form. Norton returned to court Thursday to enter a plea of no contest to carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, specifically criminal storage of a firearm due to a prior narcotic violation. Norton will serve 90 days in the Nevada County Jail and be placed on three years’ probation with terms including drug treatment as directed by the probation office, Pierce said.

Norton and his passenger, Holly Christine Zalutka, 24, were arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer on Highway 20, west of Pleasant Valley Road, after he clocked Norton’s vehicle at 90 mph, Officer Mike Steele said at the time.

The officer smelled marijuana and then saw a handgun during a safety search of the vehicle, Steele said. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed the gun was loaded and had an altered serial number. The officer also found suspected marijuana in an open container and an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, Steele said.

Norton also faced charges of possessing a controlled substance while armed, driving on a suspended license, and possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, all of which will be dismissed. He remained in custody Thursday on a $20,000 bond, court records state.

Zalutka, also known as Holly Galloway, was charged with possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, but her case was dismissed in January, court records state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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