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Grass Valley man facing federal drug sales charges after being linked to OD

A Grass Valley man with an extensive local criminal history now is facing federal drug sale charges.

A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment on July 23 against Nathaniel Opondo Hubbert, 39, and Steven Lawrence Robinson, 34, of Granite Bay, charging them with a conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and other narcotics offenses, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said n a press release.

According to court documents, between June 2 and June 24, Robinson and Hubbert conspired to distribute fentanyl. Hubbert is also charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.

Additionally, Robinson is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Hubbert pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday and demanded a jury trial, court records state. A status conference was set for Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendants are connected to at least one overdose of a victim who had to be given medical treatment after using drugs purchased from Hubbert.

According to an affidavit by DEA Special Agent Kevin Rundle. Robinson and Hubbert were arrested after an investigation that began when the Lincoln Police Department reported three overdoses on June 18 in the Roseville and Rocklin areas.

According to Lincoln Police Officer Scott Goin, a former Nevada City police officer, two of the overdoses were suspected to have been caused by black tar heroin, while the third overdose was suspected to have been caused by fentanyl. One of the overdose victims reported purchasing the Xanax that led to the overdose from Hubbert. According to the victim, Robinson was the primary source within the organization, and Hubbert and another individual would usually get fentanyl, Xanax, and any other narcotics from him.

The victim said Robinson would drive to Oakland approximately once a week in order to purchase drugs, selling fentanyl for about $160 a gram.

Hubbert and Robinson were arrested at a Roseville hotel on June 24, Rundle wrote. Robinson and a woman were located in one room with over 50 grams of suspected fentanyl, approximately 14 grams of suspected methamphetamine, pipes, cellphones, and other drug paraphernalia, the affidavit stated. In a second room, officers found Hubbert, along with a scale, a small amount of suspected heroin, and needles.

During processing at the Placer County Jail, an officer asked Hubbert if he was concealing any drugs on his person, Rundle wrote. Hubbert said he was concealing methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl in his boxers, with a total package weight of approximately 42.5 grams.

If convicted of the conspiracy count or the counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, or the count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, the defendants face a minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, according to the release. The count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Hubbert has an extensive criminal history, including involvement with narcotics and drug trafficking, Rundle wrote. He has felony convictions for transportation of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, domestic battery, evasion of a police officer, and failure to register as a sex offender. He also has misdemeanor convictions for possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Hubbert’s Nevada County court records show cases dating back to 2005. His most recent case, from July 2018, resulted in a conviction for possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell. He violated probation three times in 2019 and a warrant was issued in June after he failed to appear for drug court, records state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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