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PLYMOUTH â€” A Nappanee man was sentenced to a decade in prison after admitting to making methamphetamine inside a Marshall County home earlier this year.
Marshall Superior Judge Robert O. Bowen sentenced Benjamin Rice III, 48, to 10 years behind bars for the felony on Wednesday, July 3.
Marshall County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman said making meth has a sentencing range of six to 20 years behind bars.
"Ten years is the advisory sentence for a (Class) B felony," he said. "We are satisfied with the advisory of 10 years with the circumstances of this case."
Rice admitted to making meth in a home in the 100 block of West First Road, Lakeville/Lapaz, in January.
Bowen approved a plea agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and Rice's attorney Tom A. Black.
The agreement called for Rice to spend 10 years in the Indiana Department of Correction with no time.
The case began in late December and early January with tips to the Indiana State Police Post in Bremen complaining of possible drug activity in the vicinity of West First Road.
On January 23, 2013, Indiana State Police Trooper Jason Faulstich went to the home and did a â€śknock and talkâ€ť with the occupants, according to a news release issued by the prosecutor's office..
The owner of the home gave Trooper Faulstich permission to search the premises.
Rice was identified at that time as a resident, but not as the home's owner of the home. He too gave permission to search the premises as well as a shed in the back of the home.
Investigators discovered numerous items connected to making meth, along with a quantity of methand marijuana.
During police questioning, Rice admitted all the items were his and that he was making meth. He said he used meth daily.
Along with making meth, prosecutors charged Rice with possessing meth, maintaining a common nuisance and dumping waste from a controlled substance, all Class D felonies punishable by six months to three years in prison.
He was also charged with a misdemeanor count possessing marijuana.
The plea agreement provided for a plea of guilty to the most serious charge â€“ making meth â€“ in exchange for all other charges were dismissed.
Chipman credited Faulstich's investigative approach that resulted in the consensual search and Rice's confession.
â€śUltimately that led to a successful prosecution without the need of a trial,â€ť the chief deputy prosecutor said.