Suspect admits dealing as part of plea bargain

A confessed drug dealer who avoided capture for more than a month after one of Bartholomew County’s largest recent drug sweeps will be sentenced this month.

Robert E. Leturgez Jr., 28, who formerly lived near Taylorsville, was originally charged with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine as Level 4 felonies.

However, he has accepted a plea bargain that allows him to plead guilty to one of the original counts in exchange for dropping the second charge.

The agreement, dated Feb. 1, also calls for Leturgez to make $500 in restitution to pay back law enforcement for the drug-buy money.

Leturgez was accused of selling methamphetamine Dec. 29, 2015, and Jan. 24, 2016, while under surveillance of the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Seven months after the second drug transaction, Leturgez was one of several people sought during a roundup of suspected drug dealers.

Teams from four law enforcement agencies were sent out Aug. 15 and 16, 2016, to serve the arrest warrants.

Leturgez and another man, Joshua M. “Chirp” Parker, were the only suspects that could not be located during the sweep. While Parker turned himself in at the Bartholomew County Jail a few days after the roundup, investigators were not immediately able to find Leturgez.

But the search ended Sept. 21 when Leturgez was arrested in Jackson County for unlawful possession of a syringe and possession of paraphernalia. His arrest record showed he was residing in Whiteland.

Leturgez faces two to 12 years in prison, as well as up to a $10,000 fine, when he’s sentenced at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 21 by Bartholomew Circuit Judge Kelly Benjamin.

But since he still was on probation when the drug buys took place, Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter ordered Leturgez to serve out the suspended portion of his 2011 sentence.

During the July hearing, the Brownstown judge also added an additional 182 days for convictions stemming from his arrest last September. Poynter asked that the time be served consecutively.

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