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Meth users unknowingly on ‘death’s door’

Published 12:30pm Friday, January 18, 2013

CASSOPOLIS — Michael Schultz said he and his wife were standing on death’s door as law enforcement personnel found a methamphetamine lab in their Cassopolis home on July 20.

“Meth is a terrible thing — it didn’t take any time at all to get addicted to it,” said Schultz, 61, of Mullen Road. “I’m glad we got arrested… it saved my life. I was on death’s door and didn’t even see it.”

Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Schultz Friday to three years probation and 300 days in jail for several meth-related felony charges, including maintaining a hazardous waste lab.

Sentencing guidelines called for at least two years in prison, but Dodge took into account Schultz’s age and arrest-free streak of 33 years in deviating below guidelines.

“I don’t see any danger to the public if I sentence you to probation… this was your first time,” Dodge said.

Schultz turned to his wife, Juanita, and said, “I love you baby” as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Juanita, also facing sentencing for several meth-related charges Friday, was up next.

“I don’t know how it got so out of control,” she said before being sentenced to two years probation and 210 days in jail. Dodge allowed Juanita, who has no prior criminal record, to serve all jail time on tether. Like her husband, Juanita was also facing sentencing guidelines of 24 to 40 months in prison.

Dodge also deviated below guidelines when sentencing a 38-year-old Niles woman Friday for several meth-related felonies.

Wiggins, who was found making meth at a residence on Lakeshore Drive in Howard Township in July, was sentenced to two years probation and 14 days in jail. She received credit for 14 days served.

Wiggins was also facing sentencing guidelines of 24 to 40 months in prison. She has no prior record, but admitted to having two minor children in the home where meth was produced.

Wiggins, who was accepted into a drug treatment program, must successfully complete the program to satisfy her probation.

“We want to see you free of meth and reunited with your children,” Dodge said.


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