A quartet had been arrested before in Ripley County for methamphetamine possession and distribution.
So when Indiana State Police Trooper Jordan Craig learned Rachel Freeman, 38; Michel Freeman II, 37; Brandon Freeman, 19; and Lynn Courtney, 55, were residing in the apartment at 110 Eastern Ave. above a liquor store in Sunman, he submitted a search warrant request, according to an amended probable cause affidavit he wrote that was filed in Ripley Superior Court May 15.
Circuit Court Judge Ryan King granted the request and the warrant was executed. All four were located inside of the apartment. Brandon Freeman and Courtney also had outstanding felony arrest warrants through Ripley County.
Many illicit items were found during the search. In Courtney's bedroom, there were two glass smoking devices containing burnt powder residue, a digital scale containing meth residue, a box of plastic bags consistent with those used to package drugs for resale, and plastic bags missing comers (only consistent with packaging for drug distribution).
In Michel and Rachel Freeman's bedroom, two corner cut bags containing suspected methamphetamine (positive field test) were discovered along with a small capsule containing the drug, digital scale containing meth residue, glass smoking device containing burnt powder residue and rolled dollar bill with residue on a plate.
A plastic pen casing modified to become a "snort tube," which field tested positive for meth, was located under Brandon Freeman's bed in his room.
After Miranda warnings, initially the quartet said they had no knowledge of any contraband in the residence. Michel Freeman later admitted to smoking meth and claimed ownership of a pipe in their bedroom. The trooper learned from the Ripley County Probation Department that Rachel Freeman denied a drug screen while at the jail, telling them she had used meth the day prior. Courtney stated the scale in her room was used to weigh food.
All were arrested without incident by ISP Sgt. Adam Bullock and Sunman Marshal Jason Hoffman and transported to the Ripley County Jail, Versailles.
Michel and Rachel Freeman were charged with conspiracy to commit dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance, meth possession and maintaining a common nuisance, Level 6 felonies; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.
During a May 20 initial hearing, Ripley Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sharp set bond at $1,000 cash for him and $2,000 for her, according to https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase, the Odyssey case management system used by Indiana courts. An initial hearing for her on Count IV (dealing) has been set for June 4 at 9 a.m. and for him on Count IV for June 11 at 9 a.m.
Brandon Freeman was charged with three of the same offenses, but not maintaining a common nuisance. At a 1:45 p.m. initial hearing May 22, John Dorenbusch was appointed as counsel and bond was set at $1,000 cash.
Courtney was charged with dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance, a Level 6 felony. Her initial hearing was May 15 before Sharp, who set bond at $2,000 cash. Public defender Spencer Gilland was appointed as the defendant's counsel.
The cases were consolidated. A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 24 at 11 a.m. with a final one slated for Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. A jury trial was set for Oct. 22 at 9 a.m., the website reported.
While continuing the search warrant, Curtis Barnett, 32, Sunman, entered the apartment without knocking, according to the court document. Craig was familiar with him through previous law enforcement encounters and said Barnett "has proven himself to be a credible and reliable source of information, which has led to previous drug arrests."
Barnett had a powered-on tablet in his hand, which he set down. The trooper reported, "Curtis was advised his Miranda rights and I spoke with him regarding the content I was able to observe in plain view on the screen."
Craig learned Barnett, who uses meth, is currently on probation with Ripley County. He said he purchased the drug from Michel Freeman more than once at that apartment. Barnett also admitted using the drug with the quartet there.
The affidavit stated, "Michel is the primary source of methamphetamine in the Sunman area since he had moved back to the town." The day of the search Barnett said he entered the apartment to acquire meth from the older Freeman to sell to a woman.
Barnett "then agreed to cooperate in furthering an ongoing drug investigation against Kesha Shupe, who was also suspected to frequent the target address."
Barnett arranged for Shupe, 35, Sunman, to deliver a half gram of heroin to him at the apartment. About 40 minutes later she arrived behind the building in her vehicle and notified Barnett she was there. The trooper showed up instead and Shupe "admitted that she was there to deal what she believed to be heroin (or possibly a fentanyl mixture)."
The woman told Craig she had dealt heroin to two or three people during the past two weeks to make extra money. "Kesha stated she had about 0.5 grams of drugs in her purse that she intended to sell for $60." In the purse were a rolled up piece of foil; Narcan, an overdose reversal drug; and two corner cut bags containing a powder substance.
All evidence was collected, photographed and taken to the ISP Versailles District. Some items were sent to the Indiana State Police Laboratory for analysis.
Shupe was transported to the Ripley County Jail, where she was charged with dealing in a narcotic drug, a Level 5 felony. After a May 16 initial hearing, a pretrial conference was scheduled for Aug. 21 at 1:30 p.m. and a jury trial Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. before Judge Ryan King in Ripley Circuit Court.
Barnett was released pending providing information on the whereabouts of a wanted person. He was advised charges would be sent to the prosecutor's office for review. Barnett (no mugshot available) was charged with conspiracy to commit dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance and attempt to commit dealing in that substance, Level 6 felonies; and visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.
A criminal summons for the man was issued May 24 with an initial hearing set for June 5 at 9 a.m. before the Ripley Superior Court judge.
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.