Niles man gets jail time for drug possession

Published 5:58 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

NILES — A Niles man was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court for possession of methamphetamine.

Steven Ray Zick, 36, of Niles, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for two days already served and $198 in fines and costs.

The jail term can be served in any penal institution as Zick also faces charges in Indiana for violating bond conditions in St. Joseph County, Ind. and for possession of methamphetamines in Elkhart County.

The incident occurred Sept. 19, 2023 in Niles.

Defense attorney Daniel French said Zick has an addiction problem and has been trying to get help. He asked for credit for time served and said Zick wasn’t a good candidate for probation.

For his part, Zick admitted that he had failed probation in the past and had also served prison time in Indiana. “I’m 36 now and I’m taking my sobriety pretty seriously,” he said. “I did relapse after a break up. I made a mistake and I’m paying for it dearly … I would just like to apologize.”

“I really believe I’m ready to change, I don’t want to go back to prison and be a junkie,” he added. “Drugs have caused so much destruction in my life. I’m 36 and what do I have to show for it?”

Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith took issue with Zick’s statement that he had “just caught” two drug cases and that he appears to have not been forthcoming with his counselor. “You engaged in criminal activity,” she said.

“The letter from your counselor says you’re doing great, he doesn’t realize that you have these charges,” she added. “You’re on probation from a theft case and have two possession of meth charges and he doesn’t know. You’re not telling him what’s going on. If you really want to change, you would tell your counselor.”

“I’m not all that comfortable putting you on probation, I’m not sure I’m willing to invest in it,” she said. “You were on probation when you committed this offense and when you were on probation, you had three violations. In this case, you weren’t honest with police that you had a weapon in your vehicle. I don’t believe probation would be a good use of our resources.”