A Burleson man convicted of three felony drug charges by a Parker County jury Wednesday was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Thursday in district court in Weatherford.
Nathaniel Kyle Furstonberg, 38, was convicted of possession of 17 grams of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and possession of less than a gram each of oxycodone and hydromorphone. Furstonberg elected to have District Judge Graham Quisenberry assess his punishment and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the methamphetamine case and 10 years each for the other two cases. Under Texas law, the sentences will all run concurrently.
“Mr. Furstonberg’s punishment ranges for all three cases were enhanced because he had 8 prior felony convictions and 13 misdemeanor convictions,” said District Attorney Jeff Swain. “Those cases included drug offenses as well as burglaries, evading arrests, thefts and other assorted offenses. I’m sure his extensive criminal history combined with the fact that Mr. Furstonberg was a drug dealer, as found by the jury, weighed heavily into the judge’s decision on punishment.”
The case began in May, 2019 as a routine traffic stop by Azle Police Department for a defective license plate light. After the officers saw an open, cold beer in the center console and a baggie with drug residue on the floorboard, they began a search for contraband.
The dashboard stereo, which was designed for easy removal, concealed behind it the baggie with 17 grams of methamphetamine, six oxycodone pills, and two hydromorphone pills, a baggie of marijuana, and a glass marijuana pipe.
“People are likely aware of the meth problem Texans have been facing for decades, but they may not be as aware of the opioid epidemic we have been dealing with for the last few years,” said Assistant District Attorney Mallory Vincent who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Travis Warner. “Both oxycodone and hydromorphone are powerful opioids. They can both be lawfully prescribed by a doctor for pain relief, but those prescriptions usually aren’t kept behind a car radio in a plastic bag alongside large quantities of meth, and a pipe for smoking pot.”
A Parker County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigator with 18 years of experience testified that, in his opinion, the amount of methamphetamine as well as the baggies found in Furstonburg’s vehicle indicated that the drugs were intended for sale.
“When you’re talking about over 60 usages of meth, that’s an amount you would expect to find with a drug dealer,” Warner said. “We know that not only does methamphetamine ruins users’ lives, but it adversely impacts their family, the community, and drives up the crime rate. We emphasized to both the judge and jury that we take this type of case very seriously.”
Jurors deliberated about 20 minutes before they returned with their guilty verdicts.
“Mr. Furstonberg will be eligible for parole when his actual time served plus his good time credit equals 11 years,” Swain said. “Once he becomes parole eligible, the decision to keep him in prison or release him on parole will be up to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.”