By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw man will have the opportunity to serve a four-year sentence locally if he is accepted to the county jail’s addiction rehabilitation program.
In the first case, Ridley Lee Brown, 42, 502 Oldfather St., Warsaw, was charged with possession of a narcotic drug, a level 6 felony. He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony, in a second case. Five additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Brown was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Monday, June 20.
On Sept. 15, 2021, Warsaw Police officers responded to a drug overdose. Officers found Brown slumped over in a chair, unresponsive. Emergency medical technicians went to the scene and administered Narcan.
According to court documents, near where Brown was sitting, officers found a small bag containing heroin. When Brown woke up, he told officers he had used heroin. Officers also found a small bag containing 1.2 grams of Fentanyl, a narcotic drug, in the chair Brown had been sitting in.
On April 23, a Winona Lake Police officer noticed Brown driving a vehicle. The officer was aware that Brown had a warrant for his arrest and pulled the vehicle over.
Upon searching the vehicle, the officer found a smoking device with methamphetamine residue.
During court proceedings, Defense Attorney Scott Reust said Brown has struggled with substance abuse for a long time and nearly died when he overdosed. Reust told the court that Brown had been accepted to the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Fort Wayne.
He also requested Judge Reed consider the possibility of Brown being accepted into the Kosciusko County Jail Chemical Addiction Program and said he feels JCAP is better than the Indiana Department of Correction’s Recovery While Incarcerated program. Reust said JCAP provides additional support after the program, whereas he is unaware of additional support RWI participants receive.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz and Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed were in agreement on Brown needing immediate treatment and assistance.
“I really want to change,” said Brown. “I just want some help.”
For narcotic drug possession, Judge Reed sentenced Brown to two years in DoC. Brown also received a two-year DoC sentence for methamphetamine possession. He has 118 days of jail time credit, including good time credit. Both cases will be served consecutively to each other.
Brown also will serve one month in the Kosciusko County Jail for a probation violation stemming from a 2018 methamphetamine possession case.
If Brown is accepted into the JCAP program, the four-year DoC commitment is suspended, with the time to be served instead through the county’s work release program if Brown is approved for it.