12/16/13 Travis Howell, 27, of rural Argos, was sentenced on Thursday (December 12, 2013) in Marshall Superior Court No. 1 to 15 years imprisonment for manufacturing methamphetamine and one year imprisonment on a separate count of intimidation. In open court, Howell admitted that on May 6, 2013, he manufactured methamphetamine at his residence on Kenilworth Road near Argos. He also admitted that during May, 2013 and July 1, 2013 he coerced another individual against their will into purchasing pseudoephedrine based products and other precursors to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Judge Robert O. Bowen approved an agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and defense attorney Jeffery Houin, which provided for a sentence at the Indiana Department of Corrections of 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. Three years of the sentence was suspended, thus calling for an executed term of 12 years in prison. The intimidation charge carries a maximum available sentence of one year imprisonment, and the agreement called for the entire one year to be imposed. Both sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.
The case was initiated by Indiana State Police officers Jason Faulstich and Keith Bikowski. On April 30, 2013, the ISP officers executed a search warrant at 313 W. Washington St., in Plymouth. The subjects of that search revealed that Howell and a female were involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. The investigation led to a residence on Kenilworth Road, and the home of relatives of Howell’s. The owners of the residence gave permission to the ISP officers to search certain areas of the home and barn. That search revealed numerous items related to the manufacture of methamphetamine. A subsequently acquired search warrant permitted the confiscation of methamphetamine related items in other areas of the premises. Further investigation revealed that Howell purchased pseudoephedrine based products from four different area pharmacies on 32 different occasions within the last 16 months. Howell also had previous convictions related to methamphetamine, several thefts and forgery.
It was later determined, and corroborated by video tapes from a large department store in Plymouth that Howell arranged for relatives to purchase precursors on his behalf. Subsequent investigation concluded that the actions by Howell’s relatives were against their will, and this led the prosecutors to file a charge of intimidation.
Chipman stated, “When we saw the lengths that Mr. Howell went to coerce and intimidate members of his own family to purchase the necessary ingredients for him to manufacture meth and feed his addiction, thinking he was concealing his objectives, we knew it was necessary to include a charge of intimidation. None of this behavior can be tolerated in our community, and consequently we must react in the sternest of fashions.”
Chipman added, “This is another case with ISP Officers Faulstich and Bikowski working hard in cooperation with Plymouth PD and Marshall County Police to put a stop to a major meth cook in our area.”