South Bend man arrested for drugs 12 years after running from police

Kendall Riley

GOSHEN — A South Bend man has been arrested for dealing cocaine and other charges 12 years after he ran from a traffic stop and vanished.

Kendall Riley, 44, was arrested this month on a warrant issued in April 2006 charging him with dealing cocaine, a Class A felony under old state rules, dealing marijuana, a Class D felony, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor. He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $250,000 bond and has been given an Aug. 6 trial date.

He was arrested after the warrant was amended to reflect the name Riley instead of the name he gave officers during their first encounter, Johnny Jones. He faces up to 54 years in prison if convicted of all four charges.

According to court documents:

The Elkhart County Intelligence and Covert Enforcement Unit was conducting surveillance at a residence in Elkhart County on March 15, 2006, when a black 2000 Ford Explorer pulled up. An undercover officer followed the vehicle as it left the residence and saw it fail to signal a lane change on Bristol Street, so a marked Elkhart Police cruiser that was nearby conducted a traffic stop.

The officer could see the passenger, identified as Jones, allegedly making furtive movements with his hands and could smell a strong odor of marijuana from outside the vehicle. He noted the driver seemed extremely nervous and he had to tell Jones to stop reaching for the floorboards, which he claimed to be doing to find the registration despite the officer already having it in-hand.

Jones claimed they were on the way to the store to buy a car seat for the baby, which was already in a safety seat in the back of the vehicle. The driver claimed they were going to a different store to buy some things.

Backup arrived and police had Jones exit the vehicle and patted him down for weapons, and instead found a baggie in his jacket pocket that he said contained marijuana. Minutes later, while one of the officers was pulling out a small canvass bag he found under the front passenger seat, Jones ran from police.

He ignored commands to stop and disappeared into some brush behind a building. A K-9 unit was called to help search for him but he was never found.

Inside the bag, officers found a digital scale and a box cutter with white residue on them, two bundles of cash totaling $2,120, two clear plastic baggies containing suspected crack cocaine and several empty baggies. They also recovered a shopping bag from the vehicle that contained a large amount of leafy green substance, and some off-white rock-like substances in the front passenger floorboard and inside a soda cup in the center console.

The total weight of marijuana found in the jacket pocket and the shopping bag was 482.63 grams, or just over a pound. The total amount of cocaine found in the vehicle weighed 25.18 grams.

The driver, Umika Parker, was arrested and charged at the time with dealing cocaine and marijuana. She pleaded guilty to dealing marijuana in 2007 and was sentenced to one year on probation, and her conviction was reduced the next year from a Class D felony to a Class A misdemeanor. 

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