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Greenland man who allegedly threatened police pleads guilty to weapons charges

Union Leader Correspondent

October 22. 2013 10:10PM

Joshua Nieves, 27, of Greenland appeared in Rockingham County Superior Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to weapons and drug charges. (JAMES A. KIMBLE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD — A Greenland man who allegedly made threatening statements about police pleaded guilty to charges that he was a convicted felon in possession of weapons.

Joshua Nieves, 27, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of felon in possession of a weapon and a felony drug charge as part of a negotiated deal that should send him to state prison for 2½ to 5 years.

A sentencing hearing is expected to happen sometime later this year.

His negotiated plea deal includes a suspended 3½ to 7-year prison term on one of the weapons convictions, which could be imposed if he violates his parole.

Police apprehended Nieves last August after receiving tips that he was carrying a MAC-10.

Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid said Tuesday that tips about Nieves' weapons collection first led them to believe he was keeping a MAC-10 covered in a blanket in his car.

The gun, police later learned, only resembled the automatic pistol, according to Reid.

"It was simply a 9mm semi-automatic. It was not even in the same company of the MAC-10," Reid said.

Nieves, who has a 2004 robbery conviction, was making troubling statements to people who later tipped off police, according to court records.

Greenland police Chief Tara Laurent said in a sworn affidavit that Nieves had told a friend he would "shoot before going back to jail" and believed that Cullen Mutrie, the man who killed the town's police chief in April, "should have shot more officers."

Those statements were not mentioned in court on Tuesday. Reid said that an assortment of weapons including a stun gun, switchblades and a metal sap were found in Nieves' possession.

Police also found Nieves in possession of pills containing Lorazepam, Reid said.

Greenland police began looking for Nieves around Aug. 10 and learned he had been staying at another address in Portsmouth. Police arrested Nieves on Aug. 16, after he had stepped out of his apartment on his way to his car.A search of his car led to the weapons seizure, Reid said.

Nieves could have faced up to 3½ to 7 years in prison on each of the charges, and a $25,000 fine on the drug charge.

His lawyer Charles Bookman asked for a sentencing hearing to happen at a later date so his client would have time to get his affairs in order before being sent to state prison.

Nieves has spent 432 days in county jail, which will count toward his sentence.

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