By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw man will serve 10 years in prison for three drug cases.
In the first case, Brandon Lee Warren, 43, 302 N. Bronson St., Warsaw, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and neglect of a dependent, both level 6 felonies. In a second case, he was charged with dealing methamphetamine, a level 4 felony. Warren was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 4 felony, in a third case.
A second methamphetamine dealing case, along with seven additional criminal charges, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Warren was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
On March 5, 2020, a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s deputy went to a residence to serve a search warrant regarding drug possession. While searching the home, the officer found multiple items used in illegal drug activity. In Warren’s bedroom, the officer found nine glass smoking devices used for meth, three homemade smoking devices, two bags containing methamphetamine weighing 2.5 grams and a glass jar containing 20 grams of marijuana.
The officer also searched the bedrooms of two children at the home and found multiple smoking devices, THC edibles and other paraphernalia. Both children admitted that the paraphernalia belonged to them and if they needed marijuana, they got it from Warren or their mother. The children’s mother told officers that both children smoked marijuana and received it from Warren.
In October 2020, the NET43 Drug Task Force made a controlled purchase of 1.5 grams of methamphetamine from Warren.
On Dec. 2, 2020, an Indiana State Trooper traveling north on Fox Farm Road saw a speeding vehicle that turned out to be Warren. While speaking with Warren, the trooper realized he appeared to be intoxicated.
Upon searching the vehicle, the trooper found a bag containing 12.2 grams of methamphetamine, as well as several plastic bags commonly used to package drugs for sale.
During court proceedings, two witnesses spoke on behalf of Warren. The first was Jeff Howell, who met Warren through their employment at Medtronic. Howell said Warren is a friend who brought a lot of value to their work team. He also said Warren receives criticism and direction very well. While employed at Medtronic, Howell said he never knew about or noticed substance abuse issues with Warren.
“He’s a very positive person and I don’t think that’s gone,” said Howell. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders.”
Brian Jackson, a house manager with Serenity House, also testified. He said during an initial interview, Warren was not as forthcoming with Jackson about what issues he wanted to address. However, in a second interview, Warren brought forth more perspective to Jackson.
“I recognize that alone as a sign of growth, of being open to the healing process,” said Jackson. “I believe Brandon can work on his sobriety in a community-based setting.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Buehler asked the court to accept the plea agreement and said incarceration was appropriate given Warren’s charges. He referred to Warren’s story as a “sad tale of addiction, a downward spiral.”
“People are not irredeemable,” said Buehler. “But dealing (drugs) cannot be overlooked.”
Defense Attorney Jessica Merino said the circumstances related to Warren’s cases were rare. She noted that her client’s pre-sentence investigation report was short and said that’s typically not seen in methamphetamine cases.
“This is a new addiction,” said Merino about Warren’s circumstances. “He dabbled in something that knocked him off his feet.”
Merino asked the court to consider crafting a sentence involving community-based rehabilitation, arguing that Warren’s history doesn’t require prison time for rehab.
“I’m truly ashamed of my actions and behavior,” said Warren in court. He thanked those who attended his sentencing in support of him.
In the first case, Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed sentenced Warren to one year in prison for possession of methamphetamine. He also received a one-year sentence for neglect of a dependent. Both charges will be served concurrently, or at the same time. The sentence in the first case was suspended on formal probation.
For dealing methamphetamine, Warren received a six-year prison sentence. In his Level 4 felony methamphetamine possession case, he was sentenced to four years.
All three cases will be served consecutively. Warren has 219 days of jail time credit.
In total, Warren will serve 10 years in prison and one year on probation. Judge Reed recommended Warren for the Recovery While Incarcerated program.
Warren must also pay $80 in restitution to NET43.
“You get punished because of your criminal behavior, not your addiction,” said Judge Reed.