A Jackson County man and two of his three co-defendants face life sentences after a federal jury convicted them of conspiracy to distribute in methamphetamine.
Those convictions in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis came at the end of a 10-day trial involving David Bell of Seymour, Donald Paul Maggard and Jeremy Ray Jackson, both of North Vernon, and Dorothy M. Neeley of Indianapolis.
All but Neeley face mandatory life sentences, said Assistant District U.S. attorney Bradley Blackington. She faces a mandatory 20-year sentence.
Bell, Maggard and Neeley were arrested along with 13 other people in May 2014 as part of an investigation into a drug-trafficking operation that stretched from Indianapolis to Seymour and North Vernon. Jackson was arrested and added to the case later, Blackington said.
Seven other people had been arrested before that time as part of the same ongoing investigation into drug-trafficking and firearms violations in the Mars Hill area on the southwest side of Indianapolis.
Of the 16 arrested in May 2014, 11 were initially charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. Jackson was later arrested on the same charge.
The others charged with conspiracy to distribute were Ashley N. Wright, Jason L. Howard and Jessica R. Parsons, all of North Vernon; Joseph D. Mantooth, Robert J. Holiday, aka Jo Jo, and Kimberly A. Ault, all of Indianapolis; David Eric Chadwell of Osgood; and George R. Nichols of Butlerville.
Blackington said those defendants already have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and are serving time.
Five others arrested in May 2014 were charged with lesser offenses and also have entered plea agreements. They include Martha D. Fields of North Vernon, who was charged with maintaining a drug-involved premise. The other four, Danny W. Maggard, an inmate at the Putnamville Correctional Facility, Christy N. Walker of Columbus, Shannon M. Palmer of Indianapolis and Faris B. Kenner of McMinville, Tennessee, were charged with unlawful use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony.
According to the indictment issued by a federal grand jury June 4, 2014, Maggard operated a cell distributing methamphetamine in the North Vernon area. The police were able to gather evidence of methamphetamine distribution between the defendants from Feb. 14, 2014, to May 22, 2014.
Neeley was listed as someone who supplied Maggard with methamphetamine, while Bell and Jackson sold methamphetamine they received from Maggard.
Bell and Maggard also were convicted Sept. 25 of a second count of unlawful use of a communication facility in the commission of an act constituting a felony, while Maggard and Neeley also were convicted of a third charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Neeley was convicted of two counts of dealing in a controlled substance, and Jackson was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance.