Mendon meth maker faces life in prison at sentencing Dec. 4Published 8:36am Thursday, October 22, 2009
CASSOPOLIS – A July surprise resulted in an October harvest of a significant meth manufacturer in Porter Township.
On Oct. 20, the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office secured multiple convictions against a St. Joseph County, Mich., resident, Robert Holcomb, 37 (born Nov. 27, 1971), of 56209 Angevine Road, who cooked methamphetamine in Cass County last summer.
Because Holcomb has four prior felony convictions, he faces up to life imprison.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Wednesday, “This Mendon man made a major miscalculation when he set up his meth shop in Cass County. We will continue to prosecute these purveyors of poison and send them to prison. The bottom line is Cass County is the wrong place to make meth.”
Members of the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team zeroed in on a “methamphetamine factory” on July 31.
On that day, detectives executed a search warrant on the residence at 67412 M-40, Porter Township.
Once inside the garage to the house, detectives found a recently used methamphetamine laboratory on the floor.
One of the co-defendants, Tonniel Whitaker, already pleaded guilty to maintaining a laboratory involving methamphetamine and delivery or manufacture of methamphetamine stemming from her involvement in this matter.
Both of Whitaker’s charges carry 20-year maximum penalties.
Tonniel testified at Holcomb’s trial and admitted he had just been at the residence three days before and cooked methamphetamine with her.
Whitaker testified that Holcomb cooked on the property multiple times, and that she and Holcomb have similar methamphetamine cooking styles and often shared methamphetamine components.
Detectives testified at length on the dangers of methamphetamine and the dangers associated with manufacturing methamphetamine due to the misuse of the chemicals involved and the dangerous carcinogens and byproducts of methamphetamine production.
When detectives searched the residence and garage, multiple drugs were found, as well as a plethora of methamphetamine laboratory components.
Also searched on the property was a camping trailer Holcomb owned.
Dets. Jarrid Bradford and Phil Small testified that inside the trailer were items commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and Holcomb’s methamphetamine trash.
While detectives finished up searching the property, Holcomb showed up and was searched.
Holcomb admitted to detectives he had methamphetamine in his pocket.
Testimony at trial was that there was roughly $224 worth of methamphetamine in his pocket.
Holcomb did not testify, but his interview with detectives at the scene went a long way toward convicting him.
Holcomb indicated to Small of the CCDET that he had methamphetamine in his pocket.
Holcomb went on to admit that he used approximately a gram of methamphetamine a day.
He also indicated he cooked methamphetamine at the M-40 residence approximately three days before, and that he usually burns his meth components.
Assistant Prosecutor Diab Rizk presented the trial to the jury.
On Tuesday a jury of 12 took an hour to convict him.
Circuit Judge Michael E. Dodge presided over the trial. Sentencing is set for Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m.