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Previous Convictions Catch Up to Co-Conspirator

March 20, 2014

03/20/14 Tara Chizum, 36, formerly of Lake Ave. in Plymouth was sentenced today (March 19, 2014) in Marshall Superior Court No. 1 to 10 years imprisonment for Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine.  In open court, Chizum previously admitted her role in providing pseudoephedrine and cold packs to David Garman on September 1, 2013 for his manufacturing of meth in the Super 8 Motel in Plymouth.  Garman was previously sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and defense counsel Tom A. Black struck a plea agreement that provided for Chizum to plead guilty to the conspiracy count, and all other counts dismissed, including Neglect of Dependents.  The agreement provided that the sentence would be left up to Judge Bowen, with a maximum sentence of 10 years.  After an hour long sentencing hearing at which numerous members of Chizum’s family testified, Black argued for a suspended sentence with counseling.  Chipman emphasized the prior record of the defendant and the numerous previous chances she had to rehabilitate.  He also pointed out the numerous times Chizum had been placed on probation and motions to revoke the probation had been filed repeatedly through the years.  After hearing arguments of counsel, Bowen explained the mitigating factors and aggravating factors and concluded that Chizum was in great need of drug treatment, but it would have to be at the Department of Corrections.  Accordingly, Bowen sentenced Chizum to the maximum under the plea agreement of 10 years.  He added she could petition for purposeful incarceration after serving a full two years, and then succeed at intensive drug treatment while incarcerated.

The case began when the manager of the Super 8 Motel contacted Plymouth Police at 1:25 pm on September 2, 2013 reporting that a housekeeper began cleaning a room for the next guest and found what she believed to be parts of a methamphetamine lab.   Plymouth Police Officer John Weir responded to the call and confirmed the presence of items related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Also found were a few items of clothing and a cellular telephone.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the cellular phone and confirmed it belonged to David Garman.  It also revealed numerous texts to and from various people discussing in street vernacular the subject of meth, its manufacture, the need for precursors and the availability of finished meth product.  

Text messages to and from Tara Chizum led police to focus on Chizum.  Her pseudoephedrine purchasing behavior and other indicia she was participating in at least the consumption of methamphetamine resulted in a search warrant for Chizum’s house on Lake Avenue prepared by Indiana State Police Troopers Jason Faulstich and Keith Bikowski and approved by Judge Bowen. The search warrant was executed on September 18, 2013, and resulted in the finding of several items related to the consumption of meth as well as methamphetamine itself.  Also found were receipts for pseudoephedrine and cold packs at two different stores on September 1, 2013.  These receipts corresponded with the text messages to and from Garman’s cell phone found at the Super 8 Motel on September 2.

“Excellent police work,” exclaimed Chipman. “Only through the meticulous sifting of trash and other items were police able to find the receipts to link Chizum to the meth lab at the motel.  That made the case.”