by Caitlin Huston
Five defendants facing federal charges as a result of the June drug bust await sentencing after pleading guilty.
Jose Patlan, Logansport, who is the connecting factor between all the defendants, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and/or marijuana. While he and the other defendants await sentencing, nine defendants still face an April 23 jury trial.
All 14 defendants were indicted in August by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in South Bend after being arrested in a drug bust that involved Indiana and Illinois counties.
In his guilty plea, Patlan agreed with the statement that he had worked with others to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in the Logansport area. He also agreed that law enforcement officers found $1,500 which was “from drug transactions” in his home.
As a result of his plea, Patlan faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to 40 years in prison or a $2 million fine, supervised release of at least four years and a $100 special assessment due at his sentencing.
The plea states that the government will also recommend a “two level reduction” for Patlan, meaning that his offense level would be lowered and he could face a shorter sentence. An additional reduction will be offered if Patlan’s offense is Level 16 or greater.
Matthew Barrett, the attorney who represents Christopher Calisto of Twelve Mile — another defendant who faces federal charges — said Patlan was the focus of the federal case.
“Obviously Jose Patlan was the target in this case,” Barrett said.
Probable cause affidavits from the drug bust reveal that Patlan was the subject of a state wiretap.
Patlan is scheduled to be sentenced March 25.
Barrett said Patlan’s guilty should not directly affect his clients case, but that with the plea, Patlan will likely testify against the other defendants during trial.
“There’s usually an understanding that that person will...testify, cooperate,” Barrett said.
As part of the agreement, Patlan agreed to “cooperate fully, truthfully, and candidly with the United State Attorney” and to testify “at any hearings, trials, or other judicial proceedings.”
His cooperation will be discussed at his sentencing, the plea agreement states.
Guillermo Patlan, Milford, Ill., and Andres Garcia, Hoopeston, Ill., also pleaded guilty. Lynn Little of West Lafayette, pleaded guilty on Sept. 13 and is scheduled for sentencing March 18. Joseph Gibbs of Kokomo is scheduled to be sentenced March 1.
The defendants still awaiting trial are: Brock Crowe, Delphi; Christopher Calisto, Twelve Mile; Jose Nambo, St. Anne, Ill.; Nora Guardiola, Sheldon, Ill.; Dale Marshall, Logansport; Eric Arnold, Macy; Jeremy Dyer, Iroquios, Ill.; Laef Wade, Logansport and Robert Duff, Delphi.
Barrett said he plans to take his client to trial, but that he believes several other defendants will plead guilty before the trial.
“There are several that are planning to do that,” Barrett said.
The jury trial is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. April 23 and is expected to last two weeks in front of Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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