By Nate Smith
---- — The first of 15 offenders arrested in a September multi-state meth bust was sentenced Wednesday.
Leroy Ellis, 23, Washington, was sentenced to six years in the Indiana State Department of Corrections for his role in a major methamphetamine distribution ring.
Ellis' sentence was part of a plea agreement with as he plead guilty to conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony. He was originally charged with dealing in methamphetamine and dealing marijuana. He was also charged with possession of marijuana over 30 grams, dealing in marijuana over 30 grams, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.
Ellis did not give a statement at his sentencing in Daviess Superior Court. There were no witnesses called by either Ellis' attorney, Michael Chestnut, or the Daviess County Prosecutor's office, represented by David Lett.
As part of the agreement, Ellis will be eligible for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs while in state prison. If he completes the Purposeful Living Units Serve program in prison, he could be eligible for community corrections, judge Dean Sobecki said.
Ellis was part of a network of alleged low-level methamphetamine dealers that ran mass quantities of the drug shipped from California to Washington. All were apprehended in an 11-month investigation that included wiretaps and controlled drug buys. Over 500 grams of pure meth were allegedly brought into the area for a wide-reaching distribution network that spanned most of southwestern Indiana and into neighboring states.
The alleged ringleaders of the network, Alan Marshall, David Merritt and Christopher Kimmons set up the shipments from a California man, Antoin Alston. Other key dealers in the network allegedly include James Coy and Marcus Newson. Five of the six are in federal custody. Kimmons has accepted a plea agreement while the others are awaiting trial while Alston's records were not available.
Others charged in the case federally were Haven Ramsey, Ruby Ramsey and Barbara Kimmons, all on money laundering charges. The cases against Haven Ramsey and Kimmons have been dropped, while Ruby Ramsey has entered a guilty plea.
Ellis was one of six people charged with state charges in the ring. Others charged include Jeffrey Fox, Rhonda Lewis, Jennifer Sandoval, Adam Tolbert and Eunice Lesure. All are currently awaiting trial. Lewis, Tolbert and Lesure are in the Daviess County Security Center. Sandoval is on work release and Fox is out on bond.
During the raid on Ellis' home at 213 Ogdon St., officers found a significant amount of marijuana. Also found were ledgers of drug transactions and a .40-caliber handgun, according to the probable cause affidavit in his arrest.