Mears man with long list of charges pleads guilty to heroin possession.

February 27, 2020

Travis Gale, left, with attorney Matthew Kacel.

Mears man with long list of charges pleads guilty to heroin possession.

#OceanaCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 27-year-old Mears man who was facing felony charges in three separate criminal files pleaded guilty Wednesday, Feb. 26, in 27th Circuit to heroin possession and third-offense habitual offender, according to Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

A count of methamphetamine possession was dismissed against Travis Michael Gale, of 5178 W. Fox Rd. “It was dismissed because the substance originally believed to be methamphetamine was tested and proven to be heroin,” Bizon said. “The plea was unconditional — meaning there was no sentence agreement.”

In a second file, a felony charge of maintaining a drug lab was dismissed. “The separate charge would not have added additional penalties,” Bizon said.

In a third file, charges of receiving and concealing stolen property and possession of a firearm and ammunition were dismissed. “While bound over after a preliminary exam, multiple key witnesses changed their statements under oath and it was not believed the charges could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the prosecutor said.

While police were conducting a search of Gale’s home last spring, they found equipment used to extract butane hash oil, Bizon said. Although marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Michigan, the process of making hash oil is not, he explained. “It is still illegal due to the danger.” Operating/maintaining a lab is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

During the search, Gale drove by his house. A traffic stop was conducted, and a substance initially believed to be meth was found in his van, Bizon said. He was charged in a second file with meth possession, which is also punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Since the filing of the drug charges, Gale was charged in a third criminal file with felony weapons charges. Police searched his home and found the firearms, Bizon said.

Gale was offered a plea deal last December in which he could have pleaded guilty as charged in the drug case and face a minimum term of 15 months in prison with credit for eight months served in jail. He rejected the offer.

Bizon noted that if Gale had been convicted of all the charges in the three files, they would have run concurrently so he would not have served any more time than being convicted in the drug case alone.

Gale was previously sentenced in Oceana County to a prison term Oct. 7, 2013 for a conviction of first-degree home invasion. He was ordered to a term of one year and three months to 20 years, according to the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS).

Sentencing is set for May 4 at 8:30 a.m.

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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