Two charged after undercover drug deal turns into police pursuit in South Bend

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 3:56 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A couple has been charged with neglect of a dependent after an undercover investigation in South Bend revealed that they were dealing fentanyl in front of a child on Tuesday.

The child’s father, Olen Lorenzel Simmons Jr., 25, is facing multiple charges, including the dealing of a narcotic drug, neglect of a dependent, two counts of resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness, unlawful carrying of a handgun, and the possession of marijuana.

The child’s mother, Jakila Ball, 23, faces neglect of a dependent.

According to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, an officer received a tip from an informant that people were purchasing fentanyl from a suspect known as “Oley.” Through investigation, Oley was identified as Simmons, who was dealing fentanyl at a Chippewa Street residence. The informant told police they had observed approximately 15,000 pills in Ziploc-style bags.

The informant then set up a deal with Simmons to purchase fentanyl and entered his house on Chippewa Street. The informant recovered 523 pills, which later tested positive for fentanyl and weighed around 58 grams.

During the controlled buy, the informant wore a camera, which revealed Simmons’ four-year-old child in the area of the living room where the pill deal was transpiring. The video also captured Ball disregarding the child’s safety as the four year old approached the coffee table, where Simmons and the informant exchanged the prerecorded currency and pills. DCS was then contacted.

Officers surveilled the residence, and after the informant left the premises, authorities noticed Simmons exit his house and place a box in the back hatch of a Nissan.

Officers then proceeded to initiate a traffic stop on Fellows Street to pull the vehicle over. Simmons disregarded the police lights and began to accelerate his Nissan as he fled, resulting in his car colliding with another vehicle at the intersection of Kern Road and Carroll Street.

The driver of the car Simmons hit was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained in the crash. Simmons was also injured, though, despite this, he fought with arresting officers and was eventually transported to the hospital for treatment.

A handgun was recovered outside of Simmons’ vehicle, as well as a “considerable” amount of money.

Police then searched Simmons’ residence, which revealed packaging materials, a money-counting machine, digital scales, marijuana, a security surveillance system, and an AR-style assault rifle.

Simmons is due to be arraigned in court on Friday, May 26.