Mother and Son, Father and Son Arrested for Drug Dealing by LaPorte County Police

A mother and son and a father and son were all arrested this week, in a pair of investigations by the LaPorte County Drug Task Force. Police say Michelle Burgess, 46, of LaPorte, and Kolin Burgess, 20, of Kouts, were taken into custody, following an investigation on the distribution of heroin and meth in the City of LaPorte. Both face Level 5 felony charges of dealing in methamphetamine, while Michelle Burgess is also accused of the Level 5 felony of dealing in a narcotic drug.

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LaPorte County Traffic Stop Leads to Lengthy Prison Sentence for South Bend Man

A South Bend man has been sentenced to almost 22 years in prison, in connection with a LaPorte County traffic stop that reportedly turned up heroin, crack, and a .38 caliber revolver back in April. Marvin Cates, 43, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office.

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Legal Questions Prevent North Judson Firefighters from Carrying Narcan, Public Training Planned

A recovering addict from the North Judson area wants to make Narcan more widely available in Starke County, so local residents can live to have a chance at recovery. Kevin Glisic says he was an active addict for nearly 20 years. Now, he serves as the executive director of Moraine House, a recovery-based transitional house in Valparaiso.

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Local Heroin Use Grows, Look for Signs of Drug Activity

Heroin can be a brown or white powder or a thick, black substance, known as “black tar.”

Heroin use is a growing concern for local law enforcement. Detective Dave Combs with the Knox Police Department says it first showed up in Starke County a few years ago and quickly grew in popularity. He says it typically comes into the area from the south side of Chicago and South Bend. The drug is derived from the opium plant and is imported from Mexico. Combs adds users can buy a folded foil packet of heroin for about $20 and get high.  Continue reading

Overdose Victim’s Father Offers Tips for Parents

Manda Spitler was 20 when she overdosed on heroin in 2002
Manda Spitler was 20 when she overdosed on heroin in 2002

The war on drugs begins at home. That’s the message a Valparaiso man whose 20-year-old daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2002 shared with a group of community members yesterday in Marshall County. Mann Spitler III became a certified prevention professional and discontinued his podiatry practice in 2006. Manna was his only child. He says she succumbed to peer pressure as a teenager and started using heroin. Spitler urges parents to take note of changes in their child’s appearance. He says bloodshot eyes, contracted or dilated pupils are signs of opiate use. Cocaine can also cause pupils to dilate. So can marijuana, but the whites of the eyes will be bloodshot as well. Continue reading

Watch for Drug Use in Schools and Community


The Marshall County Safety Commission will work to keep drugs out of schools, and everyone can keep an eye out for possible drug activity.

Indiana State Police troopers said the number of meth labs has decreased in Marshall County, but the threat of meth getting into children’s hands is still possible. There are many more cases now involving the Department of Child Services because parents are abusing drugs, according to state police.

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