By Caitlin VanOverberghe, Greenfield Daily Reporter
GREENFIELD — A man will serve a seven-year sentence after admitting to selling methamphetamine out of his Greenfield apartment.
But prosecutors were forced to drop a charge of dealing a controlled substance the man had also faced after lab results showed he hadn’t coated candies with enough drugs to warrant a guilty plea, officials said.
Jeramie Smith, 31, recently pleaded guilty to four felony counts related to dealing and possession of illegal substances, records show.
Smith was arrested last year after he sold meth and drug-laced candies to an undercover police informant, according to court documents. He’s spent the last year in jail waiting for his case to come to a close, records show.
Investigators with the Greenfield Police Department had been watching Smith for weeks before they raided his apartment in April 2017. Inside his home, they found methamphetamine, syringes, baggies and scales used for packaging and weighing drugs, liquid THC — the high-inducing chemical found in marijuana — to be used in an e-cigarette, as well as hundreds of drug-laced candies called “Sweet Tarts.”
“Sweet Tarts” or “smarties” are a drug with similar side effects to Xanax, police said. They can be dangerous if consumed by unsuspecting youngsters.
Smith pleaded guilty recently to: one Level 4 felony count of dealing methamphetamine; one Level 5 felony count of corrupt business influences; one Level 6 felony count of unlawful possession of a syringe; and one Level 6 felony count of maintaining a common nuisance.
He’ll serve seven years, dividing the time between prison and probation.
Smith originally faced 14 drug dealing- and possession-related criminal charges — 10 felonies and four misdemeanors, records show. The majority of those charges were dismissed in the plea agreement he accepted from prosecutors, records show.
Among the dropped charges were two felony counts of dealing a controlled substance, accusing Smith of selling the “Sweet Tarts,” that were filed based on the weight of the confiscated candies, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
The candies were sent to the Indiana State Police lab for further testing, as part of the investigation, and scientists there were able to extract the illegal drugs from the candy, Eaton said. The drugs alone — without the candy’s weight being factored in — didn’t amount to enough to warrant a guilty plea for Smith, Eaton said.
As a result, prosecutors were forced to drop those allegations and settled for having the man plead guilty to dealing meth, Eaton said.
Smith sold drugs to a police informant three times last year, according to court documents.
Twice, he sold the informant crystal substances that tested positive for meth. During the third police-arranged buy, he sold the informant the drug-laced candy, court documents state.
Police reports state Smith was cooperative with the officers who arrived to search his apartment last year, leading them to “locations of items he knew (they) were going to look for,” charging documents state.
He told officers he’s a meth user, showed investigators a number of drugs and chemicals he kept in his home and explained the process of making the drug-laced candies.
Smith told police he uses a powder that “is legal in the United States but is not for human consumption” mixed with alcohol to give the candy the effect of anti-anxiety medication, court documents state.
Smith didn’t admit to selling the candy, just said he “distributes them to a few of his friends,” charging documents state.
Smith said he believed his friends were selling the drugs, he said, but he said he didn’t know where or to whom; he estimated the street value of the candy at $4-$10 apiece, court records state.
Officers counted 656 of the “Sweet Tarts” that had been doctored and prepared for sale, charging documents state.
Officers also found some 1,000 unprocessed candies they say Smith hadn’t yet laced with chemicals, police said.