Hamminga sent to prison in meth case

Published 5:44 am Thursday, August 17, 2006

By Staff
CASSOPOLIS – A volatile combination of loaded guns, meth and children will send a 49-year-old Cass County resident to prison.
On Wednesday at 11 a.m., after a day and a half trial, a 12-person jury found Garret Hamminga guilty as charged of manufacturing methamphetamine involving a weapon and felony firearm.
The manufacturing charge carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison while the felony firearm charge carries a mandatory two- year prison term.
The verdict continues a long string of drug convictions in Cass County during the past three years.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz stated, "Criminals who mix meth and guns go to prison. The presence of kids in this drug den is even more disturbing."
On Feb. 16, 2006, the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team (CCDET), backed by the Sheriff Department Warrant Service Team, executed a search warrant at the home of Garret and Pamela Hamminga, 13911 Gooding, Marcellus.
A search revealed a methamphetamine manufacturing enterprise, with loaded firearms scattered throughout the house.
Two young children were also found in the mix.
As officers entered the home, they noted a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy sitting on the living room couch, watching an animated dinosaur movie with their mother – admitted meth user Tyfanni Hosler.
As officers went to the back of the house, they found Garret and Pamela Hamminga emerging from the master bedroom.
In the master bedroom, CCDET detectives found all the necessary components for making methamphetamine.
Garret Hamminga admitted to officers he had been caught "red handed," as he was engaged in the "extraction process" of tearing off match book striker plates to obtain red phosphorous.
He also told detectives that he has made methamphetamine in the past.
Other meth production components located included various solvents, muratic acid and drug cooking implements.
The home had an elaborate surveillance system, including police scanners and remote cameras.
Michigan State Police analyst Rebecca Burkett testified that the samples obtained by the CCDET detectives and sent to her for analysis revealed a significant amount of pseudoephedrine, broken down from crushed, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, along with residue of finished methamphetamine.
Pseudoephedrine is a necessary precursor in the manufacture of methamphetamine, and indicated a new batch was about to be made.
A continuing search of the house revealed a shotgun and loaded rifle next to the couch in the living room where the children were watching television.
Surrounding Mr. and Mrs. Hamminga in the bedroom, all within reach of their methamphetamine laboratory, were two handguns and three shotguns. In total, nine guns were located in the home – four of them loaded.
Fitz noted that "CCDET continues to ferret out drug dealers and bring them to justice."
Cass County Assistant Prosecutor Ken Bobo secured the verdict.
Bobo serves as Fitz's drug prosecutor as a result of the anti-drug millage passed in November 2004.
Bobo teams up closely with CCDET officers and other law enforcement officers to insure effective drug prosecutions in southwest Michigan.
The Prosecutor's Office has not lost a felony drug jury trial in three years.
Hamminga's wife Pamela acknowledged maintaining a drug house on March 1, 2006, and received a year in the county jail.
Hosler also pleaded guilty on March 1 to attempted child abuse third degree and use of methamphetamine and received 45 days in jail.
Sentencing for Garret Hamminga is set before Judge Michael E. Dodge on Sept. 22, 2006.
Dodge revoked bond after the verdict.
Hamminga remains in jail until sentencing.