Archived Story

Mendon man sentenced to prison for operating meth lab

Published 5:48pm Thursday, December 17, 2009

By NORMA LERNER
Leader Publications

CASSOPOLIS – By A 38-year-old Mendon man will be behind prison bars for three years and up to 20 for operating and maintaining a methamphetamine laboratory in Porter Township.
Cass County Circuit Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Robert Holcomb of 56209 Angevine R., on two counts of meth-making and 126 days jail with credit for 126 served for possession of meth and for operating a motor vehicle without insurance. He got concurrent 90 days jail with credit for 126 days served for unlawful use of registration plates and for operating a vehicle with no license.
It was July 31 when officers were cleaning up a drug site in Porter Township when Holcomb pulled in a driveway nearby. Officers found Holcomb not to be operating with a license, without insurance and a suspended license. Dodge said Holcomb admitted to having a small amount of meth. Officers found a mobile home where the meth laboratory was located at 67412 M-40. Dodge said Holcomb cooked the meth in the trailer on the property.     Noting Holcomb has prior felonies and misdemeanors, he could not deviate below his 36 to 50 months guideline range unless there were substantial and compelling reasons to do so. He said he did take into account a treatment program Holcomb was involved in at the jail.
Holcomb apologized to the state and to the county. He said he accepted his responsibility and has learned a lot through the diversion program.
“It has opened my eyes,” he said.
In asking for a lesser sentence, defense Attorney James Miller said Holcomb has had 19 group sessions. His fines and costs totaled $1,145.

In other sentencings:
• William Sweet, 46, of 105 Pokagon St., Dowagiac, was sentenced for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense, on July 17 on Hilton St., Cassopolis. Sweet has had three drunken driving convictions in Cass County and seven felonies and 15 misdemeanors.     He was arrested with an open beer in his vehicle. His blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit, Dodge said.
Dodge showed sympathy for Sweet’s condition from an accident where he received serious injuries to both legs with the possibility of losing them.
“You kept driving,” he said. “You could have injured someone else.”
His fines and costs were $928.
• Ruby Beleu, 30, 106 Hamilton St., Dowagiac, received one year jail for six counts of uttering and publishing during 2007 and 2009. She stole checks from her daughter during July and October 2007, and cashed them in several places in Dowagiac. In May and June 2009, she stole checks from her sister worth $225 and cashed them. She stole more than $1,500 totally. Her fines and costs totaled $528. She is to pay restitution of $1,551.
• Steven Alexander, 18, 3261 Tiara Trail, Niles, got 210 days jail for possession of analogs and a concurrent 67 days with credit for 67 days for possession of marijuana on June 7. He is to pay costs of $181.
• Awonda Rodriquez, 40, 10675 Dutch Settlement Rd., Marcellus, got 18 months probation for delivery/manufacturing marijuana on Sept. 26 and 69 days jail with credit for 69 served for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, her daughter. She is to pay $1,156 in costs.
• Jeffery Borton, 39, 66520 M-62, Edwardsburg, received 120 days jail plus two years probation for third-offense operating while under the influence of liquor on June 21 on M-62. His blood alcohol level was 0.17 percent. He is to pay costs of $1,888.
• Christopher Schull, 19, 50355 Burlington Rd., Marcellus, received two years probation for uttering and publishing on April 22 when he stole checks from his grandmother worth $80 and another $485. He is to pay costs of $1,528. He was not ordered to pay restitution.

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