Man sentenced to 10 years in prison

Chicago resident first of 3 tried in case involving $40,000 worth of heroin

The first of three people arrested after police reported finding $40,000 worth of heroin in their car in April 2015 on Interstate 65 near Seymour has been sentenced to prison.

Shanon Jay Straughter, 35, of Chicago received a 10-year prison term from Jackson Circuit Judge Richard W. Poynter in August.

Poynter suspended two years of the sentence but ordered Straughter to serve the remaining eight years of the sentence consecutively to a federal prison term he has received in Cook County, Illinois.

Straughter was sentenced by Poynter after pleading guilty to aiding, inducing or causing the possession of a narcotic drug, a Level 3 felony.

He and two other Chicago residents, Shawnee Gentry, 33, and Steven Woolridge, 38, were arrested in April 2015 on Interstate 65 near the Jonesville exit by Sgt. Stephen Wheeles with the Indiana State Police.

Gentry is scheduled to stand trial at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 14, while Woolridge’s trial is slated for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 27.

At the time of their arrests, Wheeles said he noticed criminal indicators of drug activity. During a search of the vehicle with the help of his K-9 partner, Kane, Wheeles reported finding 332 grams, or 12 ounces, of heroin in the passenger compartment of the 2013 Chevrolet driven by Gentry.

All three were arrested on Level 2 felony charges of dealing in heroin and Level 3 felony charges of possession of heroin.

Straughter also was preliminarily charged with identity theft.

The state agreed to dismiss the dealing in heroin and identity theft counts as part of the plea agreement.

As part of the plea agreement, Straughter agreed to be tested for controlled substances, drugs and/or alcohol while on probation, and he must submit to an alcohol and drug abuse program approved by the Jackson County Probation Department.