07/05/13 Benjamin Rice III, 48, of Nappanee, was sentenced Wednesday in Marshall Superior Court 1 to ten years imprisonment for manufacturing methamphetamine, a Class B felony. In open court, Rice admitted he manufactured methamphetamine in January, 2013 in a home located in the 100 block of W. 1st Road, Lakeville, Indiana.
Judge Robert O. Bowen approved an agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and defense attorney Tom A. Black, which provided for a sentence at the Indiana Department of Corrections of 10 years of imprisonment. No part of the sentence was suspended.
The case began in late December 2012 and early January 2013 with telephone calls to the Indiana State Police Post in Bremen complaining of possible drug activity in the vicinity of W. 1st Road. On January 23, 2013, Indiana State Police Trooper Jason Faulstich went to the home and did a “knock and talk” with the occupants. The owner of the home gave Trooper Faulstich permission to search the premises. Benjamin Rice III was identified at that time as a resident, but not the owner of the home. He too gave permission to search the premises as well as a shed in the back of the home.
Discovered were numerous items related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine, along with a quantity of methamphetamine and marijuana. During a subsequent interview, Rice admitted all the items were his and that he participated in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. He also acknowledged that he was a daily user of meth.
Rice was charged with Manufacturing Meth as a Class B felony; Possession of Methamphetamine as a D felony; Dumping Controlled Substance Waste, a Class D felony; Possession of Marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor; and Maintaining a Common Nuisance, a Class D felony. The plea agreement provided for a plea of guilty to the most serious charge, manufacturing methamphetamine as a Class B felony, and in exchange all other charges were dismissed.
Chipman credited Trooper Faulstich with an efficient approach to the suspect that resulted in a consensual search and a later confession. “Ultimately that led to a successful prosecution without the need of a trial,” Chipman noted.