Porter County Courts
September 25, 2012 4:56PM
Updated: September 25, 2012 5:21PM
Man admits having cocaine in car
An Aurora, Ill., man pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving almost 8 pounds of cocaine through Northwest Indiana on Interstate 94.
Jose Nunez Alvarado, 44, could get six years in prison for Class B felony dealing in cocaine if Porter Superior Judge Mary Harper accepts his plea at the Oct. 19 sentencing.
Without the plea, Alvarado faced up to 50 years in prison for Class A felony dealing in cocaine.
He said through his interpreter that in the 30 years he’s been in the United States legally, “I haven’t had any problems in this country.”
However, Alvarado did have a marijuana arrest before his Oct. 4 stop for speeding, where police discovered the 3,600 grams of cocaine.
Defense attorney John Vouga said Alvarado believes he won’t be deported after he serves his time, but Vouga declined to speculate on immigration law as that isn’t his field.
Man admits to three charges
A Portage man with three criminal cases against him pleaded to one charge each on Tuesday, but how much time he will serve will be argued at his Nov. 20 sentencing.
Michael Joseph Dwyer, 18, faces up to three years on each of three class D felonies, and both sides will argue whether the sentences for each will be served at the same time or consecutively.
That gives him a maximum range of three to nine years in prison.
For the Feb. 8 attempted break-in at Bunch Jewelers on Willowcreek Road in Portage, Dwyer pleaded guilty to aiding in an attempted theft, down from a Class C felony of the same charge.
Police saw Dwyer and another man on the jeweler’s surveillance tape shattering the window and also found his vehicle tire tracks in mud.
For a series of car break-ins — which police discovered he was involved in after they searched his vehicle Feb. 8 and found more than eight GPS units and other items there and in his home — he pleaded to one of four counts of receiving stolen property.
For his part in the Feb. 13 purse snatching in the parking lot of the Portage Wal-Mart, he pleaded to aiding in a theft, down from a Class C felony.
Seven years for church burglary
A former Kentucky man received a seven-year sentence Tuesday for his guilty pleas to burglarizing a Portage church in March 2008 and stealing an SUV in Portage in May 2011.
Robert Jean Penrose III, 30, of Beech Grove, Ind., pleaded guilty to Class C felony aiding in a burglary and Class D felony auto theft on July 27.
Police identified Penrose as part of the burglary of Emmanuel Baptist Church on McCool Road through DNA on a cigarette butt left in the gym while he helped take a safe that included an undisclosed amount of money, the church checkbook and other items.
In May 2011, he left a Kentucky rehabilitation program for Portage and stole a Ford Explorer, using the credit cards left in it for gas and other items and stealing the GPS, a radar detector and 100 compact discs.
Kentucky may try to extradite him for violating his probation there.
Penrose said during sentencing, “I just want to change the people I’ve been hanging around. If I don’t, I’ll be back here.”