IN COURT: Tractor meth dealer handed 8 years

COLUMBIA CITY — A 2011 Whitko High School graduate arrested for selling methamphetamine from his tractor was given an eight-year sentence at the Whitley County Jail Monday.Gerald Jacob Michel, or “Jake,” 20, of South Whitley, was arrested in December of last year on two counts of dealing methamphetamine, two counts of possession and one charge of possession of paraphernalia.He was arrested at a field near Ind. 5, when Michel made the sale while making passes with his tractor.Michel’s eight-year sentence from Judge James Heuer included six years to serve at the Whitley County Jail and two years suspended. Heuer said he would do what he could to make sure Michel could possibly be accepted into the Whitley County Work Release.Testimony from Michel’s attorney and family indicated that the defendant was a hard-working man who, despite his young age, had been farming for many years.“He’s been driving a tractor ever since he could reach the pedals,” said his mother, Heidi Reel. Reel further indicated Michel spent a great deal of time away from work caring for his disabled grandfather. He checks in on Reel, who has been a single mother for many years.To read the rest of this story, see the Oct. 4 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.