|Four arrests made in connection with alleged courtroom exchange of drugs|
|Written by Marty Randall|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:53|
A mother and her imprisoned son as well as two other people are now in trouble with law enforcement over an alleged exchange of illegal drugs in the courtroom of Scott Circuit Court.
Sixteen inmates had been escorted from the Scott County Jail facility to county courtrooms for vari ous court proceedings on Tuesday, February 19.
While waiting in Circuit Court, one of the inmates reportedly became involved in an activity that momentarily diverted the attention of jail staff who had accompanied the group.
Later, staff was told that the diversion allowed an inmate, identified as Travis L. McCleery, to receive a package from his mother, Janice McCleery. The prisoner was at the courthouse for a hearing on a plea that he was to enter in a criminal case in which he was charged with five counts of Class C felony attempted robbery. That case was continued until March 12.
Jail staff acted on this tip, with McCleery being returned to the Scott County Security Center for a body search. During the search, a plastic baggy reportedly fell from McCleery’s shirt onto the floor. As the jail officer attempted to reach the baggy, McCleery allegedly grabbed it and flushed it down a nearby toilet after he pushed the officer into a wall.
Jail staff notified the Sheriff’s Department of the incident, and deputies went back to the courthouse in an attempt to locate the person who had given the baggy to the prisoner.
Three persons were interviewed in connection with the alleged incident. Janice McCleery, 46, Scottsburg, was then placed in custody by the deputies and taken to the Security Center. The woman reportedly admitted to buying marijuana and Xanax from an individual at the courthouse and then passing the drugs to her son.
New charges have not yet been filed against Travis McCleery, but his mother is charged with dealing in a Schedule 4 controlled substance and trafficking with an inmate, both Class C felonies, and dealing in marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.
Janice McCleery had an initial court hearing on February 21 in the same courtroom where the alleged actions took place two days earlier. Her trial date is set for July 15, and bail was fixed at $40,000 surety or full cash. She is being represented by a public defender.
The woman will return to the courtroom on March 12 when a review hearing is scheduled on her bail.
The Sheriff’s Department continued to investigate the incident, and two more people have been charged, the department announced on Thursday, February 21.
Also facing charges are Donald Wayne “Midget” Coomer, 46, and Megan Estep, 20, both of Austin.
Based on information received, a search warrant was issued and served at Coomer’s residence at 960 North First Street in Austin on Wednesday, February 20, just before 6 p.m. Officers involved in the operation included Chief Deputy Don Campbell and deputies Rex Herald and Joe Johnson with the Sheriff’s Department and Austin Patrolman Greg Green and reserve officers Robert Hickman Jr. and Daniel Morris.
A large quantity of pills, including Opana, over $4,500 in cash and possible stolen property were seized by officers, related the probable cause affidavit, and the pair was placed in custody.
Coomer’s charges in Circuit Court included one count of dealing in a controlled substance, a Class A felony; seven counts of possession of a controlled substance, all Class C felonies; and maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony.
Estep has been charged with illegal possession of a syringe, a D felony, and visiting a common nuisance in Superior Court.
Coomer’s jury trial is set for July 29. His bond is set at $100,000 corporate surety/full cash. He has a public defender assisting him.
Estep has a trial date of May 16. Her bond is set at $15,000 surety or 10% cash, and she too has the services of a public defender.