Goshen man pleads guilty to trafficking heroin

Aug. 26 — GOSHEN — A Goshen man faces prison time after pleading guilty to a Level 4 felony charge of drug trafficking during an Elkhart County Circuit Court proceeding Thursday morning.

Dean Anderson, 58, who appeared in court for a status conference Thursday, was facing multiple drug-related charges, though all but one, a Level 4 felony, were dismissed as part of a plea deal which was accepted by Judge Michael Christofeno.

At his sentencing, Anderson faces one count of drug trafficking at least 1 gram but less than 5 grams, a Level 4 felony, stemming from an April 2021 arrest in Elkhart County involving the trafficking of heroin.

According to Christofenos, the penalty for a Level 4 felony is a minimum of two years in prison, a maximum of 12 years and an advisory sentence of six years. Those convicted of a Level 4 felony can also be fined up to $10,000.

Under his plea deal, Anderson will serve 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with four years suspended and four years suspended with a Recovery While Incarcerated referral, with the possibility of a sentence modification upon successful completion of the program.

With his plea deal and guilty plea, Anderson’s five remaining charges were dismissed. They included: possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony; unlawful possession of a syringe, a level 6 felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a level 6 felony; possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a class C misdemeanor.

Anderson’s jury trial, which had been set for September 19, was subsequently canceled and his sentencing hearing was set for September 22.

MURDER CASE UPDATE

An Elkhart man charged in the June 2021 death of a 4-year-old boy will likely go on trial in September.

Christian Maradiaga, 20, appeared before Judge Michael Christofeno in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday for a status conference in the case.

When asked by Christofeno about the current status of trial preparations, Deputy District Attorney Don Pitzer said he is ready to proceed at the court’s discretion.

Marantiaga’s attorney, Gary Griner, offered a similar sentiment, and so Christofeno scheduled the case’s final pretrial conference for Sept. 15 and confirmed Marantiaga’s Sept. 19 jury trial date.

Marantiaga is charged with murder, as well as a Level 1 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and a misdemeanor count of interfering with a crime.

He was arrested on June 10, 2021, at an apartment in the 2800 block of Toledo Road as police investigated an alleged abuse case. Investigators had initially responded to a report where the victim had been hospitalized for a beating. The child died from his injuries the next day, according to the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the charges, Maradiaga allegedly endangered the victim while in his care on June 9, 2021, and that he intervened to prevent a woman from calling 9-1-1 after the incident.

He is currently being held in the Elkhart County Jail.

INITIAL HEARING

A South Bend man facing three drug-related charges is considering a possible jury trial in March 2023.

Eric Johnson Jr., 26, appeared in Elkhart County Court for an initial hearing in his case Thursday.

Johnson Jr. is charged with a Level 4 felony count of possession of cocaine stemming from an Aug. 15 arrest in Elkhart County. He also faces additional charges of resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, in connection with the case.

According to Christofenos, the penalty for a Level 4 felony is a minimum of two years in prison, a maximum of 12 years and an advisory sentence of six years. Those convicted of a Level 4 felony can also be fined up to $10,000.

As for the two misdemeanors, the penalty for a class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000, while the penalty for a class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. .

During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Christofeno entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Johnson Jr. Johnson Jr. then noted that it was his intention to seek private counsel.

Accordingly, Christofeno set Johnson Jr.’s attorney status conference for Sept. 1, his pretrial conference for Sept. 22, his general hearing date for Oct. 20 and his trial status conference for Feb. 9. 2023.

Johnson Jr.’s jury trial date was then set for March 6, 2023.

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