SOUTH BEND — Tegan Allan Tipler, 18, of Raymond pleaded guilty in Pacific County Superior Court last month to delivery of methamphetamine and, in an unrelated matter, possession of methamphetamine.

“I do not believe someone should be rewarded and relieved of their criminal conduct simply because they were able to avoid capture long enough to age out of the juvenile system, at least when we are talking about felony offenses,” said Mark McClain, Pacific County prosecutor, who went on to explain that Tipler’s juvenile case was re-filed as an adult felony and pending when he became the subject of an und Tipler had been charged as a juvenile with possession of methamphetamine; however, he failed to appear in juvenile court and a warrant was issued. He was not arrested on the outstanding warrant before turning 18 and aging out of the juvenile justice system. As a result, the state was required to either dismiss the case and file it as an adult or dismiss the matter entirely.

ercover narcotics operation conducted by the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office.

“There is little doubt that Mr. Tipler has a drug problem and it seemed to me that we needed to get him into treatment, and that is what I intended to do, but then he elected to sell methamphetamine and I do not believe a drug dealer should be admitted into drug court,” McClain said. “But we still wanted to be able to give Mr. Tipler a chance to make something of his life. For that reason, we will be recommending a drug offender sentencing alternative whereby he will avoid prison if he completes in-patient drug treatment and remains crime free for 24 months.”

This means Tipler will be supervised in the community by a law enforcement officer who is also managing his treatment and housing. Assuming the court agrees to the sentencing alternative, Tipler will complete 3 to 6 months of inpatient and 24 months of treatment. If he fails to complete drug treatment he faces as much as 24 months in prison. Tipler’s sentencing is scheduled May 3 at 1:30 p.m. and if the Department of Corrections determines he is eligible for the treatment based-alternative, he will likely be admitted into the program and begin drug treatment.

In an unrelated case in Superior Court, Keisha Marie Ann Jones, 27, of Seaview was sentenced to a year in prison for possession of methamphetamine and heroin.

Jones was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Sandridge Road. The vehicle drew Pacific County Deputy Ryley Queener’s attention, but he did not have a reason to stop the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that a similar vehicle had driven through the front yard of a residence. Queener recalled the vehicle and attempted to locate it. Once he located the vehicle, the driver turned into a residence and ran off on foot, leaving his passenger behind. Queener contacted the passenger, Jones, who confirmed the driver had fled after driving through a yard. The vehicle was impounded.

While Queener was inventorying the vehicle, he located a pink purse with needles and heroin reside. He secured a warrant and additional narcotics were located, the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.

“Deputy Queener did an exceptional job of proactive policing, paying close attention to vehicles and people who do not seem to fit in a particular area, and then when he located narcotics, securing the vehicle and obtaining a warrant to search the vehicle made it possible for us to secure a conviction,” McClain said.

“Ms. Jones declined an offer that would have focused on treatment whereby she would have been on probation for twice as long with a prison sentencing held over her head to ensure she completed treatment, but instead she agreed to a year in prison, something that is not all that unusual, but we, of course, would have preferred she attempt to complete treatment first. In the end our job is to protect our community and if Ms. Jones was not ready for drug treatment, then we have to focus on our first priority: community protection,” McClain said. Jones was ordered to complete drug treatment and will face potential, yet shorter, sanctions if she fails to follow through with drug treatment.

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