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NEW BERN – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Craven County Superior Court this week, JOHNATHAN RICE, 26, of Newport, and SHIRLEY BRAMER, 30, of Havelock, entered guilty pleas to charges arising out of trafficking in heroin. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge John Nobles presided at this term of court, and the cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney Chekesha Hukins.

In May, 2018, Craven County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators had an outstanding warrant to be served on Rice. They encountered him at the couple’s residence in New Bern, where Rice answered the door. He had a handgun in his back pocket when he did, which was taken from him. He asked to retrieve a cell phone before being taken into custody, and when investigators followed him to a bedroom where the phone was, they encountered Bramer as well. In plain view, investigators saw two clear plastic bags containing powder on the bed. At that point, they secured the residence and obtained a search warrant from a magistrate. The search revealed cutting agents, a vacuum-sealed package containing powder packed in rice, tablets, a pill crusher, a revolver, a pump shotgun, scales, suboxone strips, packaging materials, and hundreds of dollars in cash. All suspected drugs were tested at the State Crime Lab for controlled substances, and returned positive for heroin.


Rice pled guilty to Trafficking in Heroin (between 14 and 27 grams), and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Sell or Deliver. Judge Nobles sentenced him to 90- 120 months in prison (7 ½ to 10 years), and imposed a mandatory $ 100,000 fine. He ordered all money recovered at the scene to be forfeited, and the firearms were turned over to the Sheriff’s Office.

Bramer pled guilty to Attempted Trafficking in Heroin (between 4 and 13 grams), and Possession of Heroin. Judge Nobles sentenced her to 27 to 51 months, but in light of her record, suspended that sentence and placed her on probation for five years. He

ordered Bramer to undergo substance abuse treatment, to pay all court costs, and to work full time while on probation. If she is not employed full-time, then she will be subject to a curfew from 5 pm to 7 am for the entire five years.