Man accused of dealing drugs agrees to plea bargain

An Edinburgh resident who was part of what investigators considered one of the highest profile local narcotics investigations of 2015 has accepted a plea bargain in Bartholomew Circuit Court.

Originally charged with two Class A felonies, Jose Rodrigo Dominguez-Cruz, 31, of 3126 Alan Drive, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of dealing in methamphetamine as a Class B felony.

The defendant, a citizen of Mexico, could receive six to 20 years imprisonment and be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines when sentenced July 28 at 10 a.m. by Judge Stephen Heimann.

Dominguez-Cruz, who was accused of twice selling methamphetamine for an informant in early 2014, was the last of four men taken into custody Dec. 18.

Their apprehension was the result of a lengthy investigation into the sale of cocaine and methamphetamine by the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s office.

In the first instance, Dominguez-Cruz was accused of selling a quarter ounce of the illegal stimulant for about $500. About half that amount was sold during the second purchase, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Although his bond was lowered to $400,000 in May, court records indicate the defendant remained held in the Bartholomew County Jail.

Two co-defendants arrested as part of the same investigation have trial dates set for this fall.

Alvin E. Asencio-Aguirre, 29, 3841 Longshore Drive, two counts of dealing in cocaine (Class A felonies) is scheduled to be tried on Oct. 4.

Carlos M. Martinez, 30, 2683 Joseph Cox Court, Columbus, one count of dealing in cocaine, two counts of dealing in methamphetamine (Class A felonies) is scheduled to be tried Nov. 1.

Among the three, only Dominguez-Cruz is accused of selling drugs within his own home.

The other two suspects used public places, occasionally making the buyer travel to two or more locations in an effort to avoid surveillance, according to probable-cause affidavits.

Nevertheless, investigators still were able to obtain audio and video recordings of the various drug transactions, the affidavits state.

While a fourth suspect was taken into custody with Martinez and Asencio-Aguirre, court records indicate no formal charges were filed against the 23-year-old male.

After his arrest, the U.S. Department of Immigration requested that Dominguez-Cruz be kept in custody to allow them to investigate his legal status in the United States, assistant jail commander Capt. Kim Martoccia said.

Also assisting in the investigation were the Indiana State Police and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a news release.

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