Members of an alleged methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution network were arrested last week in neighboring Franklin and Jefferson counties, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis.
Some 21 people were charged in operating a "meth lab" from 2009 to 2011.
The charges are part of an indictment that was returned on May 16 but remained sealed until May 23. Charges set forth in an indictment are accusations, and do not constitute proof of guilt.
Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the arrests, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit and the Kirkwood and Pacific City Police Departments.
Conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of "meth" carries a penalty range of five to 40 years in prison; possession of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture "meth" carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
"The arrest of these individuals signals our agency’s continuing commitment to eliminate the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, a problem which plagues many of our rural counties and poses a serious health risk to both the individual user as well as our environment," said James Shroba, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division, in a written statement.
Sgt. Jason Grellner, of the Franklin County Narcotics Unit, added, "The charges alleged in this case highlights the continuing problem of clandestine laboratories in Missouri." Grellner thanked state and local law enforcement, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigation and prosecution of this case.
Arrested in the raid and charged were:
- Dale M. Harris, 44, Pacific.
- Ethan M. Lepinski, 47, Pacific.
- William L. McKinney, 21, Pacific.
- Elaine M. Scroggs, 23, Pacific.
- Miranda J. Everhart, 21, Pacific.
- Tammy L. Busch, 41, Pacific.
- Douglas E. Hughes, 29, Pacific.
- Amy N. Bueker, 25, Pacific.
- Eric E. Lyerla, 37, Pacific.
- Andrea R. Dowling, 28, Villa Ridge.
- Michael S. Pich, 32, Villa Ridge.
- Shelly M. Peterman, 42, Villa Ridge.
- Jason S. Sparks, 32, Villa Ridge.
- Aaron A. Lyerla, 33, Arnold.
- Angela J. Holley, 33, Arnold.
- Ann L. Matchell, 47, Labadie.
- Sarah A. Matchell, 23, Labadie.
- Jerry M. Walling, 48, Catawissa.
- Michelle A. Sizemore, 37, Fenton.
- Larry R. Collier, 40, St. Clair.
- Jerry A. Hendrickson, 27, Franklin County.
As is always the case, every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted, a judge is required to consider U.S. sentencing guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.