HAMMOND | East Chicago Councilman Robert Battle pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal murder and drug charges.
Battle, 42, appeared with attorney Jack Friedlander for an initial appearance and arraignment Tuesday before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry.
Cherry set a detention hearing for Dec. 9 and ordered Battle remain in custody.
Battle, who was re-elected Nov. 3, is accused of killing Reimundo Camarillo Jr., 31, of East Chicago, on Oct. 12 to further the sale of cocaine.
A superseding indictment filed last week alleged Battle killed Camarillo while engaged in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine between 2006 and Oct. 12, 2015. Battle also is facing a marijuana charge.
The charges stemmed from a Sept. 23 traffic stop in Porter County where police found 73.22 grams of marijuana and $100,700 in cash, according to court records. The superseding indictment says Battle on Sept. 23 possessed with the intent to distribute both suspected marijuana and cocaine.
Battle was first elected to the East Chicago City Council in 2011. He won the primary election this year by 52 votes. He was unopposed in the Nov. 3 election and received 308 votes.