Indianapolis defendant accepts plea deal in narcotics case

One of the first heroin and methamphetamine dealers from a large city apprehended after a local narcotics officer began partnering with federal agents will be sentenced in Columbus just before the Labor Day weekend.

James L. Cantrell, Jr., 39, of Indianapolis could receive six to 32 years in prison during sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31 by Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Kelly Benjamin.

Besides the local sentence, Cantrell also is expected to serve the remainder of a 20-year sentence handed down in Marion County for drug-dealing felonies in 2006.

Originally charged last winter with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine and one count of dealing in a narcotic drug (heroin), court records show Cantrell accepted a plea agreement July 17.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count of dealing in methamphetamine, refrain from seeking an enhanced sentence, and offer no objections if Benjamin agrees to consider shortening his time in prison, court documents state.

However, under state law, Cantrell must successfully complete a therapeutic program in prison in order to obtain that consideration.

In return, Cantrell has agreed to make full restitution of expenses, including drug-buy money, incurred by the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team in their investigation.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.

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