Drug dealer sentenced to 10 years

JUDGE: IMMIGRATION COULD CONSIDER DEPORTATION OF MAN

A citizen of Mexico living in Columbus who was one of four suspected high-profile drug dealers arrested a year ago has been sentenced in Bartholomew Circuit Court.

Carlos M. Martinez Perez, 31, 2683 Joseph Cox Court, was ordered Monday to serve 10 years in an Indiana Department of Correction penal facility.

But Judge Stephen Heimann also told Martinez Perez through an Spanish-speaking interpreter that the U.S. Department of Immigration will be notified of the sentence, and the federal agency could consider initiating deportation proceedings.

Last December, Martinez Perez became the third of four suspected drug dealers taken into custody following a long investigation into the sale of cocaine and methamphetamine, police said.

His bond was the highest of all four suspects, originally set at $1.5 million, jail records state.

Martinez Perez was accused of selling almost an ounce of cocaine to an informant for $1,000 in the early spring of 2013, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Two separate sales of a half-ounce of methamphetamine were made a month later in exchange for $1,000, police said.

The buyers were instructed to travel to two or more locations in an effort to avoid surveillance, and all drug purchases were made in public places, the affidavits state.

During his initial hearing on Dec. 29, 2015, the suspect — who was known locally as Carlos Martinez — stated his full name in court.

While Heimann agreed to reduce his bond to $900,000, Martinez Perez was still in jail last October when he pleaded guilty to dealing in cocaine as a Class B felony.

Besides the prison sentence, Heimann ordered the suspect Monday to pay $3,100 in restitution to the Indiana State Police.

State troopers worked with both the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the investigation.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s office.

What's next

Among four suspected high-profile drug dealers arrested as part of a single investigation, Carlos M. Martinez Perez is the second to be sentenced.

On July 28, Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann ordered Jose Rodrigo Dominguez-Cruz, 31, to serve 10 years in prison for dealing in methamphetamine. That’s the same sentence Heimann handed down to Martinez Perez on Monday.

The cases against the remaining two suspects, both charged with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine, are still pending in Bartholomew Superior Court 1.

Judge Jim Worton has scheduled change-of-plea hearings starting at 9:15 a.m. Feb. 6:

  • Albin E. Asencio, 30, 3841 Longshore Drive
  • Erlin Lucero-Asencio, 24, 6902 Clark Boulevard

If neither defendant pleads guilty, the two men have a joint trial date tentatively scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21.

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