NEOSHO, Mo. — A Stella man recently sentenced to 21 years without parole on a federal conviction for drug dealing pleaded guilty this week to reduced charges in Newton County Circuit Court.

Nathen D. Libertus, a 31-year-old reputed member of the Southwest Honkies prison gang, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance in a plea agreement on charges he was facing from two arrests in 2018 in Newton County.

Libertus had been facing two more serious counts of trafficking in drugs from those arrests, as well as counts of vehicle tampering and resisting arrest, which were dismissed in the plea deal.

Associate Judge Jacob Skouby accepted the plea bargain and assessed Libertus the agreed-upon length of sentences on each count, which was one year in jail with credit for having already served that amount of time while awaiting the outcome of his cases in state and federal courts.

Libertus was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Springfield in May to 21 years without parole on a conviction for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Newton and Barry counties from April 30, 2017, through Jan. 20, 2019.

The convictions in state court pertained to arrests in April and September 2018.

On April 9, 2018, investigators had established surveillance on a residence in Newton County when the defendant and a woman pulled up to the place in a car that checked out as having been reported stolen.

They drove the car into some woods on the property and were attempting to conceal it there when investigators made their presence known and Libertus tried to flee. He was caught with $1,240 in his wallet and a key to the stolen car in his pocket. Detectives also found a bag containing 396 grams of meth in a hollowed-out railroad tie near the vehicle and 2 grams in a hollow log nearby.

A call Sept. 4, 2018, reporting a man passed out in a vehicle in Newton County led to another arrest of Libertus in possession of scales, a bag containing about 30 grams of meth and about $1,245.

The Newton County prosecutor’s office said defendant is being required to forfeit the cash he had in his possession at the time of each arrest.

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