GREENFIELD — A local teen who told police she was the middle man for a narcotics dealer will spend a year in prison after admitting she sold drugs — though not heroin, as officials originally suspected.
Nineteen-year-old Courtney Carlisle of Greenfield was arrested a year ago after county drug investigators accused her of dealing heroin and marijuana.
Police found both substances in Carlisle’s car during a traffic stop in March, according to court documents. But, as tests would later prove, she did not have enough heroin in her possession for that charge to stand up in court, prosecutors said.
During questioning, she told police she was a middle man and “not a large narcotics-dealer,” court documents state.
Prosecutors couldn’t prove Carlisle was dealing heroin based on the amount of heroin found, and they opted to dismiss the allegation in a plea agreement.
Carlisle pleaded guilty to one Level 5 felony count of possession of a narcotic drug and one Level 6 felony count of dealing marijuana. This week in Hancock Circuit Court, she was ordered to spend a year in an Indiana Department of Correction facility followed by time on probation.
The Level 3 felony count of dealing a narcotic drug that Carlisle had faced was dismissed in the plea agreement, along with two Level 6 felony counts of maintaining a common nuisance and one Class B misdemeanor of possession of marijuana.
A person can be found guilty of dealing narcotics as a Level 3 felony count only if they’re caught with between 1 and 5 grams of the drugs, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
At the time of Carlisle’s arrest, police tested and weighed the substances found inside the teen’s car and home, according to court documents. They totaled more than 60 grams of marijuana and a little more than a gram of heroin, records show.
The drugs were then sent to an Indiana State Police crime lab for testing with more accurate equipment, Eaton said. Those tests showed Carlisle had less than a gram of heroin, he said.
Officers tailed Carlisle’s car early last year after getting an anonymous tip she was dealing drugs, court records state. They stopped her for a traffic violation in February, which led to a search of the car and her home, 1535 Pippin Drive in Greenfield, last year.
A juvenile friend, who was a passenger in the car when Carlisle was stopped, told investigators Carlisle was selling drugs; he told police where in her house the girl stored her drugs and money, court documents state.
Officers downloaded messages from Carlisle’s cellphone that showed her communicating with people looking to buy heroin and marijuana, court documents state. The messages dated back to May 2015, police said.
Carlisle told investigators it was actually her young friend who sold drugs, and she was simply holding items for him, court documents state. Because the boy was a juvenile at the time of the incident, any records or information regarding a criminal case against him are sealed.
Eaton said he believes the sentence Carlisle will serve is a tough one for someone her age.
The judge ordered the teen to serve one year in prison and two years on probation for possession of heroin and one year in prison and one year on probation for dealing marijuana. Her sentences will be carried out at the same time for a total of one year behind bars and two years of probation.
“Going to the DOC isn’t a minor thing; it’s significant, and it’s appropriate that she spend time in prison,” Eaton said.
Daniel Coffey of Indianapolis, Carlisle’s attorney, said he believes his client is a young girl who made a big mistake, but he hopes she learns a lesson from her punishment and comes out of prison ready to lead a better life.
“Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call,” Coffey said.
Carlisle did not speak during her sentencing hearing Thursday. As she was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, she stopped for a moment to look at her father, who was seated in the gallery, tears welling in his eyes.
“Bye, Dad,” she said. “I love you.”