Marcellus man gets probation for selling drugs to undercover officers

Published 5:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Marcellus man who sold drugs to undercover officers three times last year in Dowagiac was given a last chance on probation despite having sentencing guidelines that called for prison.


Carlos Joseph Perez, 34, of Marcellus Highway in Marcellus, pleaded guilty to three counts of delivery/manufacture of methamphetamine and was sentenced to three years probation in the Swift & Sure program, completion of the Twin County probation program, 77 days in jail with credit for 73 days served and $3,264 in fines and costs.

The incidents occurred August and September of 2022 at locations in Dowagiac.

Fitz noted that Perez has 20 prior convictions including eight felonies. His past record includes convictions for larceny, theft, weapons and assault.

“He is dangerous to the public, not only because of drugs but other offenses,” he said. “This is the type of man who needs to go to prison to protect the public.”

Defense attorney Robert Kardatzke said Perez is making strides in achieving sobriety and has gotten counseling. Perez described the last year as having been “crazy” and that he knows he’s let down a lot of people. He said he is making strides to improve himself and wants to turn his life around.

Judge Herman said he was concerned that Perez had his kids with him on the last sale of drugs to undercover officers.

“I’m not sure if you’re man enough to step up and change your ways,” he said. “Who drives their kids to a drug deal and has a loaded gun? What father does that?”

The judge told Perez that he would give him a chance in the Swift & Sure program but warned him that he will face a stiffer prison sentence if he violates his probation. The prosecutor’s office had agreed to a five year prison cap but Judge Herman said the sentence will likely be 11 years or more if he violates.

“I hope you’re serious, I hope for your sake and for the sake of your children that you are successful,” he said. “If not, look in the mirror and blame yourself and not me.”

In other sentencings:

  • Wilson Raymond Nzima, 26, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to third offense drunk driving and possession of a weapon by a felon and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for 204 days served, 480 hours of community service and $3.626 in fines, costs and restitution. The incident occurred June 8, 2022 in Dowagiac.
  • Robert William Gard, 68, of Edwardsburg, pleaded guilty to third offense drunk driving and received a delayed sentence of probation, 30 days in jail with credit for five days served, 480 hours community service and $2,340 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Oct. 22, 2022 in Edwardsburg. The charge will be reduced if he is successful on probation.
  • Nichole Renee McLachlan, 33, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to unlawful driving away of an automobile and was sentenced to credit for two days served and $1,048 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Feb. 13, 2021 in Howard Township when she didn’t return a car she was test driving. She is currently under court supervision in Elkhart.