Mears man sent to prison for heroin possession.

May 4, 2020

Travis Gale

Mears man sent to prison for heroin possession.

#OceanaCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 27-year-old Mears man was sentenced in 27th Circuit Court Monday, May 4, to 18 months to eight years in prison for convictions of heroin possession and third-offense habitual offender.

Travis Michael Gale, of 5178 W. Fox Rd, was facing felony charges in three separate criminal files. Gale pleaded guilty, Feb. 26, to heroin possession and third-offense habitual offender.

Proceedings in circuit court are presently being live streamed on YouTube due to COVID-19 precautions. Inmates appear for proceedings via Polycom teleconferencing from the Oceana County Jail.

A count of methamphetamine possession was dismissed. “It was dismissed because the substance originally believed to be methamphetamine was tested and proven to be heroin,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. “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 about a year ago, 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.

“There is a high need for substance abuse treatment,” said Gale’s attorney, Matthew Ryan Kacel, Monday. “He needs to be given a chance to rehabilitate himself.”

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 0-25 months, Kacel said.

“I’m sorry for my actions,” Gale said to Judge Robert D. Springstead, who gave him credit for 364 days served in jail.

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).

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