Federal charges have been filed against Nathan VanDerAa of Star City.
On June 3rd, VanDerAa was arrested on a charge of Possession of Methamphetamine after a traffic stop and a few days later, Starke County officers arrived at his home in Star City and found that he was in the presence of a meth lab, firearms and ammunition. Pulaski County Prosecutor, Stacey Mrak, filed methamphetamine related charges against him and the ATF was expected to file a federal charge for a firearm possession. Mrak recently dismissed the County’s charges against VanDerAa and they were transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Bend. VanDerAa had his initial hearing in federal court in South Bend on July 6th.
On July 14th, a Federal Grand Jury in South Bend indicted VanDerAa with two counts of Unlawful User of Controlled Substances in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition and one count of Manufacture of a Controlled Substance. The firearm charges are each punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release. The meth charge is punishable up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1,000,000 and at least three years of supervised release. Those are the maximum penalties allowed by the federal court. VanDerAa will have his arraignment hearing on Monday, August 1st in South Bend.
These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank E. Schaffer.