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Indy meth trafficker sentenced to 18 years after domestic assault

Convicted meth trafficker gets 18 years in prison

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to distributing of methamphetamine and carrying a firearm during the drug trafficking crime.

According to court documents, on May 27, 2021, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to reports of shots fired on the southeast side of Indianapolis. Witnesses stated that the driver of a red hummer shot at another vehicle and drove off. Officers quickly located the red hummer and Steele, who was the driver.

On the driver’s seat, officers found a plastic bag containing 404 grams of pure methamphetamine. A .38 caliber revolver with five spent casings was found on the passenger seat floorboard. On the ground outside the Hummer, officers located a loaded 7.62mm assault rifle that had been stolen. A search of Steele also revealed $1,853 in cash. The defendant admitted to possessing the methamphetamine with the intent to sell it and carrying the guns to support his drug trafficking.

During this investigation, officers learned that Cody Steele, 41, was involved in an alleged domestic assault earlier on the day he was arrested. The victim reported that shortly after midnight on the day Steele was arrested, she attempted to leave him. Steele struck her and told her that she could not leave, and if she tried, he would kill her dogs.

Later that morning, she tried to leave again, and Steele threw a dog chain at her, hitting her in the face. He damaged her vehicle, and she was unable to use it leave. When she started to walk away, Steele followed her in his vehicle. He had control over her dog and told her to get in his car or he would kill her dog, scaring her into entering the car.

The victim told law enforcement that the defendant drove her around for several hours. Steele would not allow her out of the vehicle. She tried to open the door several times, but Steele sped up the vehicle so she couldn’t exit. One time when she tried to leave, Steele bit her on the arm. Eventually, they stopped at a parking lot and the victim called for help. Bystanders assisted her in retrieving one of her dogs from Steele during a physical struggle.

Employees of nearby businesses aided the victim. The victim did not call the police because she feared losing her dogs. She began to return to the residence to get her vehicle. Her vehicle had been damaged by Steele, so she had to drive slowly. As she drove, Steele yelled at her, and she heard a gunshot. Steele pulled in behind her and rammed her vehicle, forcing her car into oncoming traffic. When she pulled it back into her lane, Steele rammed her vehicle from behind. Steele fled the area, and a witness began to follow Steele and called 911.

Officers responded to the hospital and observed the victim to have visible bruising and swelling to her eye, a laceration and blood on her face, bruising on her arms, blood on her clothing, and seemed to have broken blood vessels in her right eye.

Steele has a lengthy criminal history, including felony convictions for domestic battery, child molestation of a 10-year-old victim, and escape. Each of these prior felony convictions prohibit Steele from ever legally possessing a firearm. The defendant was also convicted of a misdemeanor invasion of privacy for violating a no-contact order with his wife.

“This violent, repeat criminal is simply a menace to those close to him and to the community at large. His outrageous, violent conduct and armed trafficking of deadly drugs demonstrate the serious danger he poses to the public,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Guns in the hands of domestic abusers dramatically escalate the risk that they will murder those in their lives, law enforcement, or the public at large. Our community and this most-recent victim are safer today because of the excellent work of IMPD, the ATF, and our federal prosecutor to ensure this criminal is behind bars where he belongs.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and IMPD investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew P. Brookman. Judge Brookman also ordered that Steele be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for for years following his release from federal prison.

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