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Soy wax defense works for two charged in Chesterton drug case

Soy wax defense works for two charged in Chesterton drug case

VALPARAISO — Two of the four people who claimed they had soy wax in their car during a traffic stop and not methamphetamine as charged pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser count and were sentenced to time served.

Jessica Jones, 25, and Michael Mavrides, 31, pleaded guilty to a felony count of possessing a hypodermic needle. 

The Fort Wayne residents served 86 days behind bars, according to the court.

Prosecutors had dropped two high-level felony counts of dealing in methamphetamine — one carrying a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years behind bars and the other carrying a potential of three to 16 years, according to court documents.

"We are pleased the more serious charges were dropped," said defense attorney Bob Harper, who represented Jones.

Mavrides was represented by defense attorney Mitch Peters.

The four were arrested following a traffic stop Sept. 14 in the parking lot of AJ's Pizza Co. just east of Ind. 49 near the access point to the Indiana Toll Road in Chesterton, according to the charging documents.

Police said they found a scale and hypodermic needles in the vehicle, a plastic bag containing a white substance and a metal bucket containing the plastic bag with 10 pounds of a "white flaky substance."

While the group claimed the white substance was soy wax, the first field test returned a positive result for methamphetamine, which led to the original charges, Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said.

A second, more thorough, field test returned inconclusive results, so the officers left the substance behind in the vehicle, Gensel said. The vehicle had already been reclaimed from the tow yard by the time prosecutors learned the substance was not in police custody.

The remaining defendants — Shawn Williams, 39, and Cassandra Rigg, 25 — are scheduled to appear Friday before Porter Superior Court Judge Jeff Clymer.


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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