MUNCIE — A Muncie man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Tuesday.
A circuit court judge in Delaware County convicted 32-year-old Joel D. West of Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death — a Level 1 Felony. Indiana law explains the maximum penalty for a Level 1 Felony is 20-40 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A previous report indicated West contributed to a Delaware County resident’s overdose death by selling a controlled substance to the individual.
West was implicated in the Yorktown Police Department’s investigation into the overdose death in January 2019. West was arrested on Feb. 21, 2019, and charged with Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death.
The Indiana General Assembly passed the Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death statute in 2018 to further penalize dealers who sell drugs to a user who later ends up fatally overdosing.
The statute allows prosecutors to pursue charges for any person who “knowingly or intentionally manufactures or delivers a controlled substance.”
“This marks the sixth time a Delaware County jury has found a defendant guilty of dealing resulting in death,” Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman wrote in a prepared statement. “Our community is speaking loud and clear, if you deal drugs and one of your customers dies as result, you will be held accountable. The days of drug dealers preying on the weak and vulnerable are long gone.
“We will continue to aggressively prosecute these crimes. I am proud of Chief Deputy Zach Craig and Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Ramirez, Prosecutor Investigators Heather Stanley and Alyssa Sorrell as well as Yorktown Police Officer Erin Gross for their hard work and dedication in this case.”