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Hancock County News Archives for 2021-09

Traffic violation leads State Police to several pounds of Fentanyl

A traffic stop for following too closely led troopers to a major drug arrest.

An Indiana State Trooper noticed a Chevrolet passenger car following another vehicle too closely in the center lane of I-70 near Greenfield. The trooper pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver. Subsequent interaction with the driver and a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 15.8 pounds of what are believed to be Fentanyl laced pills and 4.4 pounds of pure Fentanyl hidden under the rear passenger seat. 

Felix Becerra Aguilera, 39, of California was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.  He was arrested on preliminary drug charges and transported to the Hancock County Jail. 

The Hancock County Prosecutor's Office filed the following charges:

  • Dealing in a Narcotic Drug Manufacture/Deliver/Finance - 10 or more grams - Level 2 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-1(a)(2)
  • Possession of a Narcotic Drug - Level 3 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-6(a)
  • Possession of Cocaine - Level 6 Felony - 35-48-4-6(a)

Becerra-Aguilera had his first court appearance Tuesday in Hancock Circuit Court where a judge granted the prosecutor's request for a $1,000,000 cash bond.

A pre-trial conference is set for December and a jury trial is set for March, 2022.


Crider named 2021 Public Elected Official of the Year

The National Association of Social Workers' Indiana Chapter (NASW-Indiana Chapter) recently presented State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) with the 2021 Public Elected Official of the Year Award.


"Sen. Crider has seen firsthand the intersection between the criminal justice system and behavioral health systems. This has helped guide his work in the General Assembly to author some of the most innovative changes to both systems," Katrina Norris, NASW-Indiana Chapter board president, said. "Sen. Crider is Indiana's behavioral health MVP!"


Crider received this award, in part, for legislation he authored and helped pass during the 2021 legislative session. Under Senate Enrolled Act 82, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, clinical addiction counselors and physician assistants can now diagnose and refer an individual to start mental health treatment. These professionals are required to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice under a licensed supervisor in order to diagnose mental health disorders.


Prior to the passage of SEA 82, professionals who met this requirement could only perform a diagnostic impression. A diagnostic impression evaluates the presenting problem, but does not include a diagnosis.


"In recent sessions, destigmatizing mental health and ensuring Hoosiers have access to safe and reliable mental health services has been one of my highest legislative priorities," Crider said. "I am honored to receive this recognition and will continue to be an advocate for improved mental health services for Hoosiers."


To learn more about bills Crider has authored and had passed into law, click here.


Hancock County's Tech Castings receives grant to implement robotics

A Hancock County business has been awarded a Manufacturing Readiness Grants.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the fourth round of awards totaling more than $2.8 million to 34 Indiana businesses in Manufacturing Readiness Grants to support a projected $17.4 million in technology-based capital investment in Indiana.


Tech Castings LLC was awarded a $171,500 grant award.  Tech Castings is a leading supplier of vacuum and air melt superalloy investment castings and pressurized ceramic core leaching services to aerospace companies. The company is implementing robotics in its shell room to increase capacity and quality while alleviating employees from lifting heavy items.
The Manufacturing Readiness Grants program was launched in 2020 to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing sector. Based on the program’s success, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million in additional funding to the two-year state budget that runs through June 30, 2023, to help position Hoosier operations for future growth and prosperity. Availability of the new funding on July 1, 2021, has enabled a total of 122 awards to date totaling nearly $9.7 million in grants to Hoosier companies in 50 counties, supporting technology-based capital investment projected to be more than $68.6 million. 

The 34 grant recipients in this round include companies from 22 Indiana counties and cover a wide range of specialties, including aerospace and defense, automotive, custom electronics and medical devices.