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The Journal Gazette

Friday, November 01, 2019 1:00 am


Skimmer usage nets 6-year term

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Baltimore woman who admitted to using skimming devices at northeast Indiana banks, credit unions and gas stations to defraud customers was ordered Thursday to spend nearly six years in federal prison. 

Valentina Marinkovic, 19, also will have to pay back more than $78,000.

She used the devices – placed on ATMs and gas station credit card readers to capture and store financial information – from about Aug. 5 to Oct. 1 last year, according to court documents. 

Marinkovic pleaded guilty in June to bank fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft and was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne to 70 months behind bars.

Man sentenced to 5 years over drugs

A federal judge Thursday ordered a Fort Wayne man to spend nearly five years in prison on drug charges. 

Mauricio Ramirez, 25, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne to 57 months behind bars. 

He and another man – Dorrion Jefferson – were on their way to deliver the drug to police when their car was pulled over in 2017, according to court documents. Investigators said the car contained 100 grams of methamphetamine. Jefferson had previously sold drugs to an undercover police informant. 

Jefferson pleaded guilty and was sentenced in August to 204 months – 17 years – in prison. 

Growing pot nets 5-year sentence

A man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for growing marijuana at his Auburn home, U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II announced Thursday. 

Jeffrey Gaunt, 62, was pleaded guilty to growing more than 100 of the plants and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. The prison sentence will be followed by four years of supervised release. 

Indiana State Police flew over Gaunt's house last year, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office, and saw him pulling up plants and trying to run.

Police found 177 rooted marijuana plants, 60 “marijuana clones,” sealed packages of the drug, guns and other items. 

Meth, gun result in 10-year term

A federal judge sentenced a Fort Wayne man Thursday to more than 10 years behind bars for methamphetamine distribution and being a felon in possession of a gun.

Francisco Mendez, 39, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. He distributed 5 or more grams of the drug in February 2018, according to a news release, and possessed a firearm a few months later. 

He was convicted of resisting law enforcement and carrying a handgun without a license in earlier, separate cases in state court.