Chesterton Tribune



Mother who admits selling crack with kids sentenced

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A Chesterton woman who has admitted selling crack cocaine while accompanied by her children has been sentenced to four years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Andrea Lashon Coleman, 34, who at the time of her arrest was residing in the 1900 block of Cory Lane in the Rose Hill Estates subdivision, was sentenced on Tuesday by Porter Superior Court Judge Mary Harper.

Coleman was originally charged with three counts of dealing cocaine, two of them Class A felonies punishable by a term of 20 to 50 years and one of them a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20 years. She was also charged with neglect of a dependent, a Class C felony punishable by a term of two to eight years.

Under the plead-and-argue agreement, the two Class A felony counts were both dismissed and her time in the DOC capped at five years. On Tuesday, Harper sentenced Coleman to eight years on the Class B felony, with four years suspended; and to four years on the Class C felony, with all of the time suspended. Harper, per the plea agreement, ordered both sentences to run consecutively.

Coleman, accordingly, has an effective prison term of four years, with the eight years after her release to be served on formal probation.

In her sentencing order, Harper made note of one aggravating factor, namely, that the probable cause affidavit cites multiple cocaine sales, including two eligible for Class A felony charges.

Harper also made note of three mitigating factors: Coleman admitted her guilt; incarceration will pose a hardship to her three children; and she has no prior criminal history.

Coleman’s husband, Jerry Coleman, 40, also charged, is facing a maximum term of 14 years under a plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Charges were filed against the Colemans in April 2012, after the Porter County Drug Task Force (DTF) arranged with a confidential informant (CI) to make four separate purchases of crack cocaine from the Colemans, between April 5 and April 24. The total amount of cocaine purchased in those sales, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by DTF Coordinator Bob Taylor: 11 grams, on which the CI spent a total of $1,120. All purchases were made at the Family Express at 1681 Pioneer Trail, across from the then WiseWay Foods, Taylor stated in his affidavit.

Andrea Coleman made two of the sales, Taylor stated, on April 11 and April 24, and on both occasions “she had three children in the car.”

Jerry Coleman made the other two, on April 5 and April 17, Taylor said.

After the sale on April 24, DTF executed a search warrant at their residence, where it is believed Jerry Coleman flushed crack cocaine down the toilet. Agents “tested the toilet water and it tested positive for cocaine,” Taylor stated. Also found at the residence: a pan used to “cook” rock cocaine, “which also tested positive.”

“From documents seized during the search, it is believed that neither Andrea nor Jerry Coleman had any source of income apart from dealing crack cocaine and laundering drug proceeds via debit cards,” Taylor stated. “From additional evidence gained during the investigation, it appeared that the Colemans also traded crack cocaine for items that had been stolen.”


Posted 8/22/2013