Man Facing Corruption, Drug Charges Withdraws Plea

Jason Bontrager, 36, Syracuse, withdrew his plea agreement at his hearing Monday. Bontrager is charged with one count of corrupt business influence and one count of dealing a synthetic drug. After speaking with his attorney, Antony Garza, Bontrager said his children are dependent on him and he asked for a jury trial instead of a plea agreement. Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed accepted the request and set the date for July 21 and 22, starting at 8:30 a.m. 
According to a probable cause affidavit, on Aug. 14, a Warsaw confidential informant arranged to purchase 30 methadone pills from Michelle Stimmel, 35, Kimmel, in exchange for $200. Officers followed the informant to Stimmelators Gentleman’s Club in North Webster, and the informant  advised that the drug was distributed to Bontrager, Kyle Dehart and others who distribute the drug for profit. 
A search warrant was obtained, and after searching Bontrager’s residence, officers found packages of the synthetic drug, packaging materials, a revolver and small amounts of the drug, the affidavit states. The affidavit states that when a synthetic drug is ready to be distributed, both Bontrager and Dehart  contact Stimmel.
Kyle Dehart is charged with two counts of murder and one count of obstruction of justice stemming from an unrelated incident, the shooting deaths of two people in Syracuse in February. He is being held without bond at the Kosciusko County jail, and has a status conference set for 10 a.m. April 13 and a pre-trial conference set for 3 p.m. May 11. Michelle Stimmel has a hearing sheduled for April 20. A pre-trial investigation for Bontrager is set for April 13 at 3 p.m.

(Story By The Times Union)