Meth lab case heads to trial

February 23, 2015
Jay Jacob Ball consults with his attorney, Doug Springstead.

Jay Jacob Ball consults with his attorney, Doug Springstead.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The case against a 24-year-old Hesperia man facing several charges in connection to a multi-agency meth lab bust last month is set for trial in April.

Jay Jacob Ball appeared in 27th Circuit Court Monday morning, Feb. 23, with his court-appointed attorney, Doug Springstead, for a pretrial hearing. Ball, who is facing charges of manufacturing methamphetamine; operating a methamphetamine laboratory within 500 feet of a residence; and felony firearm, is set to go to trial, April 8 and 9. He has a final conference scheduled for March 16. He is lodged in jail on a $50,000/10 percent cash/surety bond.

Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald

A co-defendant in the case, 25-year-old Samantha Jean Fitzgerald of Hesperia, pleaded no contest to maintaining a drug house Monday morning in circuit court. The prosecutor’s office and her attorney, Timothy Hayes, negotiated a settlement, Prosecutor Joe Bizon told Judge Anthony Monton. In exchange for her no-contest plea, one count of possession of methamphetamine, and habitual offender, second offense, were dismissed. She is facing up to two years in prison for the felony conviction, Bizon said. Her sentencing is scheduled for April 13 at 9 a.m. She is lodged in jail on a $5,000/10 percent bond.

Monton asked Fitzgerald if she was pleading no contest to avoid “potential civil liability,” and she answered, “yes.”

A third suspect who was wanted on the charge of possession of methamphetamine in connection to the bust, 25-year-old Magen Sue Bunting of Twin Lake, was recently apprehended by a another jurisdiction on unrelated charges, according to a State, Sheriffs’, Chiefs’ Enforcement of Narcotics Team (SSCENT) official.

Members of SSCENT, CMET, the Michigan State Police Emergency Support Team, the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad, Michigan State Police Canine Unit, the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office and troopers from the Hart post, executed a search warrant, Jan. 9, at an address in the 7900 block of White Road in Greenwood Township.

The search warrant was issued after investigators from SSCENT and CMET determined that the occupants may be involved in the production of meth, and the search warrant was executed without incident.

“During the execution of the search warrant, several items used in the production of methamphetamine were located inside of the home,” a SSCENT press release states. “The production of methamphetamine involves the use of hazardous materials, and requires specially-trained technicians to clean up the site. As a result, members of the Michigan State Police Methamphetamine Enforcement Team responded to the scene to dismantle the laboratory and remove the hazardous materials from the residence.”

Manufacturing methamphetamine and operating a methamphetamine laboratory are both felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine ranging from $25,000-$100,000. Possession of methamphetamine is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine.

CMET is a multi-jurisdictional task force that covers Newaygo, Osceola, Montcalm, Mecosta and Ionia counties. SSCENT is a multi-jurisdictional task force that serves Manistee, Mason, Lake and Oceana counties.

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