Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Novak sentenced following guilty plea in drug case

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 12/14/17

REGIONAL—Gary Allen Novak, age 48, has pled guilty to felony drug charges stemming from his arrest in Greaney back in July 2015. As part of his Dec. 11 plea in district court in Hibbing, St. Louis …

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Novak sentenced following guilty plea in drug case

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REGIONAL—Gary Allen Novak, age 48, has pled guilty to felony drug charges stemming from his arrest in Greaney back in July 2015. As part of his Dec. 11 plea in district court in Hibbing, St. Louis County prosecutors dismissed a charge of possession of 25 grams or more of methamphetamine, while Novak pled guilty to felony intent to sell a total of 190 grams of methamphetamine.

Prosecutors put the street value of the drugs at approximately $14,000.

Novak has a long rap sheet, including convictions on previous drug charges as well as petty theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, including firearms, domestic assault, and dozens of traffic violations.

Novak was arrested following a tip from Gary’s uncle, Beryl Novak, a Greaney resident who had seen Gary enter the woods just off Sethers Road, where he had stashed a blue duffel bag stuffed with what appeared to be drugs and related paraphernalia. Beryl Novak reported his discovery to law enforcement, and sheriff’s deputies later confiscated the drugs, without immediately locating Gary, who later showed up at Beryl’s residence on Sethers Road, made threats, and demanded to know where his drugs had gone.

Beryl, who was guarding his residence with a shotgun, while Gary and an accomplice pounded on his door, again contacted law enforcement. Five deputies arrived on the scene shortly after and took Gary into custody. He has been housed in the St. Louis County Jail, and more recently, the St. Cloud Penitentiary, awaiting the final outcome of his case.

Beryl had been set to testify in the case on Monday, but the trial was cancelled as a result of the guilty plea.

Judge David Ackerson sentenced Novak to 110 months in prison, less the 864 days he has already served.

“We think there was a good result here,” said Assistant County Attorney Carly Melin, who prosecuted the case. “He pled guilty to the most serious charge, and it got a lot of drugs off the street. Law enforcement really did a tremendous job of putting this case together.”

Besides addressing the meth problem, Beryl said the arrest of Gary has effectively ended a rash of break-ins and burglaries that had plagued the rural community. “It reinforces the idea that if you see something, you need to say something,” said Beryl. “People need to look out for themselves and their neighbors. We need to make the criminals afraid,” he said.

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