2 Columbus men to serve prison term for selling meth

Two Columbus men who admitted selling methamphetamine either in court or to investigators have been sentenced to prison.

Tony Evan Gibson, 52, 1126 California St., was ordered Thursday to serve 4½ years with the Indiana Department of Correction by Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann.

The self-employed mechanic was originally charged with dealing in methamphetamine as a Level 5 felony, as well as possession of methamphetamine as a Level 6 felony.

On July 11, Gibson also was charged with possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

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As part of a plea bargain, Gibson agreed to plead guilty to both counts of possession. That was in exchange for prosecutors dropping the dealing charge, court records state.

While working another case last December, an Indiana State Police trooper was tipped off that Gibson was manufacturing the narcotic in the basement of his home, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed March 7.

During a search of the basement, several items used in methamphetamine production were discovered that included coffee filters still containing the narcotic, as well as digital scales, pill grinders and lithium batteries, the trooper wrote.

When Gibson was taken into custody at his mechanic’s garage, he was found to be carrying methamphetamine, the affidavit stated. While the defendant first claimed the drug was for his own personal use, he later admitted he sold methamphetamine from time to time, the affidavit stated.

Besides taking note that this was the defendant’s second offense of the same nature, Heimann also said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing that Gibson “does not appreciate the seriousness of the situation or take responsibility for his conduct.”

In an unrelated case last week, Donald E. Burton II, 20, of 1619 Washington St. was sentenced to eight years with the Indiana Department of Correction by Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton.

However, Worton ordered that the final two years of the sentence be served in a community corrections program.

Although Burton was originally charged with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine as Level 4 felonies, he took advantage of a plea agreement last month by pleading guilty to one count in exchange for the other being dropped.

Burton was under police surveillance on July 11, 2015, when he sold up to five grams of methamphetamine at his home for $275, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed by a Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department detective.

Undercover narcotics officers also were watching Burton four days later when he sold a similar amount of the drug for the same price outside a fast-food restaurant on South National Road, the affidavit stated.

The judges requested that both defendants undergo drug therapy while in prison. If they successfully complete their therapy, both Gibson and Burton can petition to have their sentences modified, the judges stated.

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