Drug dealers get 10-year sentences

Two confessed drug dealers have been sentenced to the same amount of time for committing nearly identical crimes.

Eric M. Froedge, 35, 330 Morningside Drive, was given a 10-year sentence Tuesday by Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Jim Worton.

In a separate case, Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann handed down a 10-year sentence to Fredrick E. Burton, 28, of 91 Reo St., late last week.

Froedge’s sentencing came six weeks after he pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in methamphetamine as a Level 5 felony May 5.

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On that same day, Burton pleaded guilty to the same felony at the same level after admitting he sold more than a gram of the narcotic outside his residence in exchange for $200 on June 29, 2015.

That same amount of money was given to Froedge in exchange for methamphetamine during a May 7, 2015, drug deal in a parking lot on Columbus’ far west side, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

While court records do not indicate whether the cases are connected, they state the two men were under surveillance by the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team at the time.

Originally, both were charged with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine, but one count was later dropped as part of respective plea agreements, court records state.

While Burton was arrested Feb. 9 without incident at his home, Froedge did not go quietly to jail last summer.

Instead, he led police on both a vehicular and foot pursuit west of Columbus Regional Hospital on July 3, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

When he was finally captured, Froedge told arresting officers he knew there were multiple warrants out for his arrest, Harris said. Froedge then was sent to prison to serve time for a theft conviction from an incident at a local department store, court records state.

Although Worton said Froedge will serve the final two years of his sentence in a community corrections program, Heimann did not suspend any part of the sentence for Burton.

But both were ordered to pay $450 in restitution to law enforcement, as well as court fees.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.