On October 7, 2020, an officer with the Holdrege Police Department (HPD) applied for and was granted a search warrant on a Holdrege resident.
The officer, a four-year veteran of HPD, stated that in July of 2020 a minor's cell phone was forensically downloaded by a Phelps County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) Lieutenant after concerns from the minor's mother.
Results of that forensic search of the cell phone allegedly brought to light multiple Snapchat and Instagram messages between an adult male and a juvenile female.
A Snapchat message from the juvenile female to the adult male, named as Dallen Johnston, 26, was stated as saying "And all the nudes? I never said you could screenshot so why'd you do that..."
Johnston is currently a registered sex offender, having to be on the registry for twenty-five years as the result of a conviction in Hall County for third-degree sexual assault of a child. The victim, in that case, was thirteen while Johnston was 20. Johnston also used the Snapchat mobile phone app in this case.
A shirtless photo of Johnston in the mirror was found to which the minor victim later replied "I mean didn't you try n get in my pants. And I didn't want that. That's bad."
In an Instagram message, the minor is said to have asked Johnston for "a couple gs of wax." Johnston replied to that message saying "Yea but I would rather not have these messages on Instagram so u can add me back on snap or just not talk about it please." The subjects further discuss drug use and what would be needed for the minor to purchase them from Johnston.
During the HPD officer's investigation, they were informed by the PCSO Lieutenant that the Lieutenant had received an email from a person close to Johnston. The email stated that the witness had seen nudes. The witness also stated that there were two other minors that Johnston was having inappropriate conversations with, one of which he snuck into his house.
The witness text Johnston on September 4, 2020, stating that they had taken his marijuana and THC wax. The witness goes on to say, according to court records, that they had seen paraphernalia in Johnston's room multiple times and that there's a safe in his bedroom in which he keeps his stash.
On October 10, 2020, a PCSO Deputy and three officers with the Holdrege Police Department served the search warrant on Johnston's residence. During that search warrant, they allegedly found three Apple iPhones, one Samsung cell phone, an HP laptop, multiple items of drug paraphernalia, marijuana, multiple items containing a wax substance, a box of Yu-Gi-Oh cards containing cash, among other items related to the distribution of drugs.
Johnston, at this time, has been charged with Distribution of a Controlled Substance (Class 2A Felony), Possession of Marijuana over 1oz to 1lb (Class 3 Misdemeanor), Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 4 Felony), and Possessing Money While Committing a Drug Offense (Class 4 Felony). Johnston has since posted a bond of $25,000/10%.
If convicted of all of these charges, Johnston faces a maximum of 24 years 3 months imprisonment.
Additional charges may come pending the results of further forensic analysis of Johnton’s devices.
We will provide further updates as they become available to us.