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Narcotics dealer sentenced to 13 years

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@chronicle-tribune.com

A Marion man received a 13 year sentence for a dealing narcotics charge after a public defender argued that the facts of the case didn’t warrant the severity of the Level 2 felony.

Brandon Lee McCormick pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years on probation, after he told the court he sold a controlled substance to an acquaintance from high school acting as a confidential informant four times before being arrested.

McCormick said the informant approached him asking for larger and larger amounts of heroin, and defense attorney Nathan Meeks claimed the increasing volumes were a plan to hit his client with the highest crime.

“Mr. McCormick was not the one soliciting these sales,” Meeks said. “I think it’s important to know that Mr. McCormick was not in the driver’s seat.”

Meeks said McCormick does not have a record of dealing drugs or “pushing product,” adding that McCormick was someone who bought heroin for personal use and was just a middle man for someone who sought help getting drugs.

McCormick testified Friday that he began smoking marijuana at the age of 15 before moving onto harder substances in his early 20s and heroin in his late 20s.

“It’s been a downhill spiral ever since,” he told the court while mentioning his willingness to get help for his addiction.

Deputy prosecutor John Meyers took issue with the defense’s argument that the Joint Efforts Against Narcotics (JEAN) Team had any plan for the charges against McCormick.

“(The idea that) these arrests were manufactured by the JEAN Team is not true,” Meyers said.

Meeks said his client understands that what he did was wrong and agrees that he deserves to be punished for the charge.

McCormick apologized to the court and his family for his actions.

Grant County Circuit Court Judge Mark Spitzer said regardless of the circumstances, a Level 2 felony dealing charge is still serious, saying “there are consequences for that” since drugs are an issue in the community.

Spitzer said he’s open to allowing a possible sentence modification if McCormick completes recovery programming while incarcerated.

The sentence Spitzer imposed agreed with the sentence proposed by the probation department and prosecutor.

McCormick will also serve 2 years for a theft charge, which will be served on top of the 13 year dealing sentence.