News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 16, 2013

U.S. attorney touts success of ‘armed career criminal’ enhancement

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A federal grand jury has indicted a Sullivan County man with illegally possessing firearms as a convicted felon and he could face 15 years to life in prison under a federal “armed career criminal” enhancement, U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said Friday.

The indictment alleges that Mark Dudley, 50, on Nov. 16, 2012 was found to be in possession of a Jimenez 9-mm handgun and a Glock .40-caliber pistol. His extensive criminal history includes 13 prior felony convictions, Hogsett said, including convictions for theft, illegal possession of a gun, forgery, and burglary in Sullivan County and Vigo County.

“Mr. Dudley is alleged to have been committing a series of burglaries throughout Sullivan County. He was ultimately apprehended … by two individuals whose home Mr. Dudley had just burglarized,” Hogsett said during a news conference in the Federal Courthouse of the Southern District of Indiana in Terre Haute.

“Obviously the burglaries that [Dudley] is alleged to have committed can be pursued locally by the Sullivan County prosecutor. The federal grand jury, in Terre Haute, returned an indictment this week.

“Having acquired 13 felony convictions, Mr. Dudley is eligible, under federal law, for what is known as the armed career criminal enhancement,” Hogsett said. “If he is designated, as a result of the judication of this case, as an armed career criminal, that enhancement carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life imprisonment.

“The plain fact is that Mr. Dudley is facing the possibility of a future that includes spending the rest of his life in a federal prison,” Hogsett said.

The indictment is part of the Violent Crime Initiative, Hogsett said. Started in March 2011, the initiative is a district-wide strategy to work with law enforcement and county prosecutors to combat drug traffickers and criminals who use and carry firearms in illegal activities.

“Sullivan County … doesn’t need to be spending its resources chronically chasing people like Mr. Dudley who use the local jails as a revolving door,” Hogsett said. “Frankly, that is what our Violent Crime Initiative is designed to address, taking off the streets of Terre Haute and off the streets of Sullivan … and other communities in the Wabash Valley the so-called [worst of the worst].”

Dudley was held at gunpoint by Scott Higgins, who had a legal gun permit, and Amy Bell, according to the federal affidavit in the case. Bell told state police she had arrived at her Sullivan County home and saw a black Chevrolet truck in her driveway that she did not recognize. Believing something was wrong, she got her farm hand, Higgins.

As they returned, the truck was pulling out of the driveway. The two followed the truck and called 911. When the truck pulled over on Indiana 63, Higgins held Dudley at gunpoint until police arrived, according to the federal affidavit.

Police discovered jewelry that had been taken from Bell’s home. Four rings in Dudley’s possession and the Glock pistol, found in a tool box in Dudley’s pickup truck, were discovered to be from a second Sullivan County home burglary.

Evidence from a third home robbery was also discovered. A Sullivan County homeowner reported a tan porcelain pig containing about $200 and a “Mickey” ring were stolen. Police found shards of tan porcelain and a Mickey ring in Dudley’s truck.

In a search of Dudley’s residence in the 300 block of South Ferris Street in Sullivan and of a camper on the property, police found an unlocked safe with a loaded Jimenez 9-mm pistol and a loaded ammunition magazine. The safe also had a box of 42 rounds of 9-mm ammunition.

The Violent Crime Initiative has produced an increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally. Since the program started in March 2011, more than 200 defendants have been charged with federal gum crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hogsett said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or