ELKHART — An Elkhart man faces up to 56 years in prison after a jury convicted him of three drug-related charges in less than 15 minutes.
Efren Mendoza-Vargas, 37, was convicted on Tuesday, Sept. 10, of dealing in methamphetamine, a class A felony, and possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance, both class D felonies, according to a news release from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mendoza-Vargas was arrested after the Elkhart County Interdiction and Covert Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at his residence on Pottawatomi Drive and found approximately $10,000, fraudulent identifications, one pound of marijuana and more than one pound of methamphetamine.
The methamphetamine alone was valued at about $60,000, according to the news release.
This was Mendoza-Vargas’ second trial on these charges. He was convicted on all three charges in November 2011, but the conviction was overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the confession used to convict him was inadmissible.
The prosecution’s case was presented in the new trial without the confession.
Mendoza-Vargas’ sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 3.