A Linton man caught in an LPD, JPD and Greene County Drug Task Force sting operation back in 2011 went to prison for dealing meth, served his time and was released. This year he was back in jail following an investigation by the Task Force, accused of dealing meth, again. He was convicted in Greene Superior Court this week and Judge Dena Martin sentenced him to 16 years in prison.
Donald Scott Forker, Jr., now 36, was charged with dealing in methamphetamine in an amount of 10 or more grams, a Level 2 felony, and two counts of dealing in methamphetamine in an amount between one and five grams, a Level 4 felony. Forker was accused of traveling to Indianapolis to buy quantities of methamphetamine, then returning to Greene County to sell it for a profit numerous times over a period of several months.
This was not the first time Forker was accused of dealing drugs. In an overnight drug sting by the Greene County Drug Task Force and Linton and Jasonville Police Departments back in 2011, Forker and 12 other individuals were busted and Forker was convicted of dealing in a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a public park. Forker was sentenced on a Class A felony in June of 2011 to 15 years with three years suspended, leaving him 12 left to serve in the Indiana Department of Corrections. He served his time and with good time credit – more lenient at that time before laws were changed, was released in February of 2016. After his release, he was serving a term of probation. But last December, the Greene County Probation Department filed a petition to revoke his suspended sentence and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He had not been arrested and that warrant was still active in April when the Greene County Drug Task Force developed information that Forker was possibly dealing methamphetamine in Greene County, prompting an investigation involving officers from several agencies.
Assistant Police Chief Ryan Van Horn of the Jasonville Police Department wrote the narrative for a probable cause affidavit filed in the latest case, including details about the investigation and the evidence gathered.
Van Horn said officers believed Forker had been traveling over a period of several months to Indianapolis to purchase methamphetamine, at least a half-ounce at a time, then was returning to Greene County where he was selling it. Officers said they had evidence involving more than one transaction in April.
Then in late April, officers got information that Forker had gone to Indianapolis and was expected back in Linton with a supply of methamphetamine. Greene County Drug Task Force officers were waiting for him and as he entered Greene County, his vehicle was stopped. Forker was then arrested on the warrant issued in the old sting case, transported to jail and booked in by Jasonville Police Officer Andrew Duguay.
According to Van Horn, Forker did have a supply of methamphetamine with him but he threw it out of his vehicle as the stop was being made. It was recovered and tested positive as methamphetamine, 17 grams.
The case was filed in Greene Superior Court on April 30, but Forker was no longer in jail. For the warrant in the old case that he was arrested on, his bond was set at $15,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed. He posted $1,500 cash and was released.
When a warrant was issued in the new case, Forker was gone but by mid-summer, he’d been picked up in Terre Haute and was transferred back to Greene County. His bond was set at $170,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed. It would have taken $17,000 for him to bond out. He didn’t post bond.
In late September, Forker entered into a negotiated plea agreement with his defense attorney, Chief Public Defender Alan Baughman, and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Keven McIntosh.
Forker agreed to plead guilty to the more serious Level 2 felony charge of dealing methamphetamine and the State agreed to dismiss the other two Level 4 felony counts plus the petition to revoke his suspended sentence in the old case.
However, under the terms of the agreement, sentencing was left up to the discretion of the judge.
During the sentencing hearing on Monday, Judge Martin found mitigating factors in Forker’s favor to be that he’d accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty, had obtained counseling while in jail and had a young child.
Aggravating factors included his prior criminal history. He was convicted of illegal consumption of alcohol twice as a juvenile, then as an adult, was convicted of theft in 2001, of possession of a controlled substance in 2003, of possession of marijuana in 2008, and in the 2011 drug sting - dealing in a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a public park.
In addition, Forker was still on probation in the 2011 case at the time when the current offense was committed.
Judge Martin sentenced Forker to 20 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with four years suspended leaving him 16 years to serve in prison. He was given credit for 135 days already served and he’ll get good time credit for those days.
If Forker is eligible for good time credit going forward, since this is a Level 2 felony conviction, he still must serve at least 75 percent of his time, which means he’s going to be in prison for a minimum of 12 years.
The judge did recommend that Forker participate in a substance abuse treatment program within the Indiana DOC and if he successfully completes the program, then at some point in the future, the court could consider a modification to his sentence.
Following his release, Forker would serve four years on probation.