Area men sentenced for trafficking

Thursday, March 13, 2008

TERRE HAUTE -- On Thursday, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Timothy M. Morrison announced that two area men, including one from Brazil, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney following their guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Shaun R. Clark, 27, Brazil, received a 188-month sentence, while Jason B. Swearingen, 33, Mansfield, received an 88-month sentence.

The case was a result of a nine-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Metro Drug Task Force, Beech Grove Police Department, Indianapolis Police Department, Marion County Sheriff's Department, Vigo County Drug Task Force and Clay County Sheriff's Department.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times he recalled the initial arrest of Clark being one of the largest drug arrests in the county.

"I remember that as being one of the largest amounts (of methamphetamine) we recovered here in Clay County," Heaton said.

Heaton said he recalled a traffic stop arrest of Clark, where officials found a quarter-pound of the drug, in addition to handguns and bullet-proof vests.

CCSC Chief Deputy Rob Gambill, who was the department drug detective at the time of ongoing investigation, said he recalled the investigation as well.

"Those are good sentences," Gambill said. "It was an ongoing investigation we were involved in."

Although Clark and Swearingen worked in the same trafficking cell, Gambill said they did not work together.

"They were independent drug dealers," Gambill said. "But they were known associates."

On Dec. 28, 2005, CCSD Deputy Jerry Siddons stopped a vehicle occupied by three individuals. During the stop, Siddons arrested the three individuals, Clark, Joel Allen Childress and Ginger Leah Locke, for various drug and weapons charges.

According to a press release provided by Assistant to U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Officer Mary E. Bippus, Clark and Swearingen were distributors for a methamphetamine trafficking cell that distributed the drug along Interstate-70, running from Indianapolis to Terre Haute.

The cell distributed more than 40 pounds of methamphetamine per month from May 2005 through January 2006.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Blackington, who prosecuted the case for the government, said Judge McKinney also imposed three years supervised release following both defendants' release from incarceration.

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