Drug dealer gets 12 years

By Garrett Estrada

Ely Times Staff Writer

Heather Dahl was sentenced to a maximum of 12 years in prison after she was found guilty on two counts of sales of methamphetamine on Monday by District Judge Steve Dobrescu. Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor on the case Michael Wheable said during the hearing that meth dealers such as Dahl “poison the community” by distributing the illegal and that he was satisfied with the sentence and hopes it deters others who help the drug spread locally.

“Every dealer and every seller of methamphetamine in this county should know that if they get caught in this community we are going to go after them with the same zeal,” Wheable said.

Dahl was arrested on January 2 on a warrant after she sold methamphetamine to undercover narcotics officers on two separate occasions. In addition to the two counts of selling meth, Dahl could have also been charged with trafficking the drug since she was found with eight grams of meth at the time of her arrest. Dahl had appeared in front of Judge Dobrescu in the past, having tried and failed going through the court’s drug court rehabilitation program.

“You really are one of the tragic figures of meth,” Dobrescu said. “Meth has destroyed your life, but you have a lot of life left in you.”

Dahl’s appointed public defendant Daniel Page presented Dahl as an “extreme addict” with mental health issues that needed treatment more than prison time. Wheable countered that the time for rehabilitation had passed Dahl by after she failed drug court. Furthermore, he argued, that meth in the community affects more than just the users. He pointed to the link between meth and the majority of violent crimes the DA’s office prosecutes against and that Dahl’s two counts of selling the drug only contribute to that.

“The drug problem in our community is like a noxious weed,” Wheable said. “Like a weed, if you just cut off the top, or in this case, just take care of the users, it’s not going to go away. You have to pull it out from the roots and pull the drug use out of our community. Treatment is not for dealers and peddlers, they are the ones that need to be locked in prison.

“I don’t take any pleasure in sending anyone to prison. It is really tragic. Hopefully she will have some long sobering years,” he said.

In the near 300 cases that Wheable has prosecuted in the county, he estimated that 80 percent were drug related and that half of all those had a connection to methamphetamine.


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  1. Karla Winter says:

    You make my daughter sound like the most horrible person in the World and that’s not right! I worked at the Ely State prison for 5 months until getting hurt and lived in Ely, NV for almost 3 years. There are worse people drug dealers that live there. She is paying for her mistake, so now its time to get all the other drug dealers instead of letting them slip through the cracks all the time!
    My daughter is not a monster like you make her out to be! I did not raise my daughter this way and she didn’t come from a terrible home she just ended up with people who use the same drug but are never caught when they deal it. Ely has been one of the worst towns and most drug infested towns I had ever lived in, in my life and wish I never had moved there and wouldn’t have if my husband hadn’t got a job there to start with!
    I hope the next person who is sentenced for the same addiction and crime is downgraded by your news paper just as you downgraded my daughter!
    ~~~~~~~Karla Winter~~~~~~

  2. Karla,

    You’re daughter has failed a very helpful system, one which no where else in the country has. The drug rehabilitation system in Nevada is among the best at actually helping individuals clean themselves up and become productive citizens again. Your daughter, unarguably, has naively dismissed any help being offered to her. Judge Dobrescu has done a fine job, and has had the unfortunate job of sentencing your daughter, which you might not understand, is one of the toughest things to do to a young person. This, hopefully, will be just the thing she needs to clean herself up and give her the time to reflect on the kind of life she wants to lead when she returns to life outside of steel bars. The article, that portrays your daughter as a “monster” is merely stating the she is among a widespread problem in rural Nevada that needs to be admonished. I am very sorry for the path that your daughter has chosen, but she has had ample opportunities and help from a successful drug program that could have saved her from this negative portrayal.

    • Karla Winter says:

      There are many more people in Ely and the surrounding area get the same treatment when being judged! If the people who she has sold to would be caught would they get the same treatment? A lot of them are most likely dealers also but slip through the cracks! How many people are drug dealers but the Narcotic Division makes deals with them and they get less severe sentences! So you tell me that if a person narcs out others they will get better treatment? She tried to clean up her act and then she got mixed up with the wrong people. She tried to get help for her and her son but since she was a person who used drugs they wouldn’t help! How many druggies are getting the help needed to take care of their families through your county?

  3. Charlotte says:

    Your daughter got exactly what she should have got its not the narcs fault its your daughter for doing the drugs…..and selling that posion…..

  4. Stephen Porter says:

    A lot of you people in Ely are naive. Do you really believe this girl was a threat? Karla is right, They rarely go after the big bust. Mr Wheable is not being honest about the tactics he uses. Does he honestly believe this girl is the problem or is he punishing her for not talking. I just want to ask you all. Do you know where the meth in Ely comes from? Well it doesn’t come from locals. It comes from Mexican drug cartels the same drug cartels that have murdered 60 thousand plus in Mexico in the past 5 years. I promise you that her choices were to sell it, hold it, transport it or someone was going to die. Probably her, but it could have been a family member to. Mexican drug cartels prey on addicts like Ms.Dahl. They use the persons addiction, which at that point is a disease.

    Ely could have rallied around this girl. They could have gotten her the help that she needed. And not through Mr Dabrescu’s flawed program.

    Mr Dabrescu needs to be asked some tough questions about his program. Does it truly give the addict what they need? Or is it just an excuse to sound tough to get elected.

    If Mr Dabrescu and Mr Wheable truly cared about the drug problem in Ely and if it truly weighed on their souls at night when they weren’t getting paid, then they might take the time to understand why someone would do the things they do when they are an addict.

    Ely, put your addicts in your arms and stop treating them as evil. They are sick with a nasty disease and need your help and love, not prison. There have been to many promising minds ruined, to many families torn apart, and to many of our brothers and sisters lives lost . Not just from the drugs though. It is also from the treatment they recieve from a community that refuses to admit and face this epidemic since the 1970’s.

    • Thank you Stephen for being the voice of reason on this subject. This is truly a case of cruel punishment.

  5. To the notable naive and ignorant:

    I 100% agree with you that drug addiction — well, any addiction for that matter — is a disease. The only people that free themselves of this disease are those that take the initiative to TRULY help themselves. It’s naive and downright ignorant to let this girl be portrayed as the victim any longer; She has moved from the addict category right into feeding the mouths of the future addicts. Mr. DOBRESCU’s (maybe reference the article for a spell check) –really the State of Nevada’s – Drug Court and Drug Rehabilitation has had a towering success rate–among the very top in the nation for those who actually engage and have the desire to rid themselves of this disease that has swept the nation. Do explain to me the flaw in the system? That people, like Ms. Dahl, have had opportunities and support but neglect to immerse themselves in it? That they CHOOSE to continue on their path of addiction; of disease?! People who coral their families into this mess and completely “tear them apart”? Sounds pretty selfish, don’t you think? Again, I will reiterate — she surpassed victim when she started dealing.

    If you actually think that WPC, alone, has the task force to take on these big drug cartels, you truly are guileless. Guess where those people are coming in from? Las Vegas! Take your woes there–hey, why don’t your write them a letter explaining your concern and that you don’t think that they are doing a very good job — seems easy right?. On a smaller scale, it’s only a matter of time before WPC’s small force of officers and DEA are able to catch these dealers too. It’s amusing that you think that she is the only one that they are targeting, don’t you think? I’m sure it’s a matter of time for the others that “fell through the cracks” to be on that same bus.

    To further add insult to injury, it’s comical that say “So you tell me that if a person narcs out others they will get better treatment? ” — If you are such a huge advocate and want our community rally around these individuals then maybe you should support the notion of “narking”. Hey, this could have been step one in her quest to rid herself of this disease — eradicating the area of the problem. So this “unfair and cruel” punishment seems to be right in line.



  6. The fact of the matter is we don’t have the room or the money to imprison everyone. We must choose who we deem the “Biggest Threat to the Community”. For every Non-Violent Drug offender we sentence for a long term, we are forced to release a Violent Gang Banger, or worse a Sexual Predator who is moving next door to your children. 12 year’s is a sentence likened to Armed Robbery, Sexual assault and other VIOLENT Crimes. A 12 year sentence put’s a dangerous Predator back on the street’s. I deplore Drug’s, however Incarceration is not the Answer it’s the cause. Our Gang Violence problem is not in spite of of Drug polices, it is a direct result of our Drug Polices. Governor Brown held up a pencil and said, “If I can produce this pencil for $1 and I can turn around and sell this pencil for $17,000. There is no Criminal Penalty that is going to stop me from making that kind of profit. Why is that profit so extreme ? Because of the Harsh Criminal Penalties for being caught.” We the people have created our own Frankenstein. Am I the only one who see’s how Clear the Problem and the solution are. 12 years is Dis-perpotionate at best. 3 years is more than enough time to get your point across and increase the profits the Drug Gangs are making . Thank you Judge for Creating a Bigger Frankenstein. Tax Drug’s Fund School’s.. That’s the solution. With 5% of the worlds population, and 20 % of the worlds Prison population, Hello What is wrong with this picture. Portugal solved their drug problem by Legalizing and Taxing Drugs using the revenue for Treatment and Education, not Imprisonment and Enrichment of Criminal Gangs.. Organized Crime was Created as a result of Prohibition. Those who fail to learn from their history are Doomed to repeat it…

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