Scottsburg city officers with the aid of an Indiana State trooper made two arrests on Wednesday, February 24, both of which involved possession of illegal drugs that included heroin, methamphetamine and pills.
Information about possible drug activity occurring in the Lake Iola area of the city originally brought Sgt. Brian Hall and Patrolman James B. Vires into the area before noon that day. Sgt. Hall had received a tip that a person had spotted an apparent “hand-to-hand” drugs-for-money exchange in the area of Rosewalk Mobile Home Park. The mobile home park is located east of the popular Lake Iola and separated from it by railroad tracks.
The officers began searching for what was described as an older Lincoln town car with front-end damage. As he was looking, Sgt. Hall reported to Ptl. Vires and Indiana State Police Trooper Matt Busick, who was also in the area, that what appeared to be a female and two males were walking toward the remains of the old Morgan corn factory at the southeast end of Lake Iola.
Trp. Busick advised he had found one of the males and the female, with a third person walking south on Meridian Street. Ptl. Vires stopped his patrol car and began walking toward the individual, who identified himself as Dakota L. Fortner, 22.
As the officer had approached Fortner, he said a hypodermic plunger fell from Fortner next to his right foot. That action caused the patrolman to place Fortner in handcuffs.
The rest of the hypodermic syringe was found in Fortner's pocket, and an additional needle was also found, related Ptl. Vires. What was described as a “...tightly-wound plastic bag...bound with elastic hair ties...” was located on the suspect which contained two types of pills. Ptl. Vires said he also found a blue rubber tourniquet.
Fortner was transported to the Scott County Security Center. While bagging the evidence, jail staff reported that there were three types of pills in the baggie, Triumeq,Viagra and Busiprone, all legend drugs. Legend drugs are dispensed by prescription. Also found were two marijuana roaches or cigarettes.
Sgt. Hall was having success in his hunt for the old Lincoln. He caught up with the car at the train tracks just west of Main Street on Owen Street. Noting the driver committed a driving infraction, Sgt. Hall activated his lights and stopped the car. Captain David Hardin and Trp. Busick arrived to assist.
As the driver was explaining to Sgt. Hall that he had left his identification at home, Capt. Hardin stated he saw a partially-filled pill bottle laying on the front seat and two knives. When the man began searching through a console and then moving around as if in search of identification, he was asked to step out of the car.
That's when Capt. Hardin said the man tried to put something in his pocket. He also reportedly pulled away from the officers and clenched his hands into fists. He was taken to the ground by Trp. Busick and placed in handcuffs. Because the man had suffered a cut, Scott County EMS was called, and dispatchers sent a tow truck to impound the vehicle.
Prior to the car leaving the area, Capt. Hardin conducted a vehicle inventory. He listed the discovery of 2.7 grams of methamphetamine, nine Gabapentin pills and three Nitrofurantoin tablets. Gabapentin is a pain killer; Nitrofurantoin is used to fight urinary tract infections.
The suspect was identified as Nathaniel Todd Lewis, 23, of Rosewalk Drive. As Lewis was processed at the security center, jail staff reported to Sgt. Hall that they had located a baggie containing one gram of heroin in his underwear.
Fortner, whose address is Kinderhook Road, Scottsburg, and Lewis had initial court hearings on Friday afternoon, February 25, in Scott Superior Court before Judge Marsha Owens Howser.
Fortner is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a syringe, three counts of possession of a legend drug, all Level 6 felonies, and possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, both misdemeanors.
Lewis' charges included Level 6 felonies of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a narcotic drug and two counts of possession of a legend drug. He was also charged with resisting law enforcement, a misdemeanor.
Judge Howser entered preliminary pleas of not guilty for both men. She also set an initial jury trial date of May 19 for each, assigned their cases to public defenders and set their bails at $50,000 by corporate surety bond or $5,000 cash.
Each man was also placed on a 15-day hold without bond by individual State's petitions for detainer and/or greater-than-standard bond. Each had been on probation from earlier court cases. Fortner's probation was scheduled to end in April, 2017, while Lewis' probation would have ended in August, 2018.