By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A man currently serving a 16-year sentence for drug dealing in Elkhart County received a five-year suspended sentence for two drug cases in Kosciusko County.
In the first case, Patrick A. Belt, 28, Michigan City, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 4 felony. Belt was also charged with possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a class C misdemeanor; in a second case. Two additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Belt was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Monday, Dec. 6.
On Dec. 23, 2018, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s officers responded to a report of Belt sleeping in his vehicle while it was running and in gear.
According to court documents, Belt told the officers he had been smoking marijuana. While searching Belt’s vehicle, officers found a glass smoking pipe with methamphetamine residue and a bag of marijuana.
On Jan. 22, 2019, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s officers went to assist an unresponsive person in a vehicle at Mock Road and SR 15. The people who reported the incident said they used a brick to break the back window of the vehicle.
By doing that, they were able to wake the unresponsive person up. However, the person jumped from the vehicle and ran. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found the man, who was identified as Belt. Inside a case found in Belt’s vehicle, officers found a plastic bag containing 15.3 grams of methamphetamine. Officers also found about 10 to 15 empty plastic bags used for packaging methamphetamine for sale.
Belt is currently serving a 16-year sentence for dealing methamphetamine in Elkhart County. He is incarcerated in the Indiana State Prison, with an estimated release date of Oct. 22, 2031.
During court proceedings, Defense Attorney Scott Reust said Belt has already completed Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) and Recovery While Incarcerated (RWI) while serving his Elkhart County sentence. He requested Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed consider some form of alternative placement for Belt’s sentence.
For possession of methamphetamine, Judge Reed sentenced Belt to five years in the Indiana Department of Correction. This will be served consecutively to Belt’s Elkhart County sentence and any sentence imposed in a theft case stemming from 2018.
Belt’s driver’s license was also suspended for one year; he has 37 days of jail time credit in the case.
For marijuana possession, Belt received a six-month sentence to be served in the Kosciusko County Jail. He also received a two-month jail sentence for paraphernalia possession. Both the marijuana and paraphernalia possession charges will be served concurrently, or at the same time. The two misdemeanor charges will also be served concurrently to Belt’s five-year sentence for methamphetamine possession.
In total, Belt received a five-year prison sentence. However, the entirety of the sentence was suspended on probation. Belt can serve the sentence through the county’s work release or community corrections programs upon his release from the Indiana State Prison as long as he remains qualified.