Edwardsburg man gets rehab

Published 10:23 am Monday, July 27, 2015

An Edwardsburg man was given the opportunity to get his life back together and avoid incarceration Friday morning, following his participation in a local meth lab operation.

Joshua Ludlow

Joshua Ludlow

Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Joshua Ludlow, 32, to three years of probation during his hearing at the county courts facility in Cassopolis, for multiple methamphetamine related charges. Ludlow had pleaded guilty to the counts on June 29.

As part of his sentence, Ludlow will be admitted to the county’s Family Treatment Court, which includes a 120-day drug treatment program through the Twin County Probation Center.

The Edwardsburg man was arrested on April 28, following a search by the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team of his residence at the Eagle Lake Estates mobile home park, on North Shore Drive. The officers were following up an anonymous tip they had received that reported a strong chemical odor emanating from the residence.

Police discovered that Ludlow had manufactured and used methamphetamine at the residence. The man was involved in this production with two other people, including his lover and mother of his two children, Dodge said.

“This activity of manufacturing methamphetamine, as you probably know, is extremely dangerous,” Dodge said. “It involves very toxic materials, and is highly flammable and explosive. It also results in hazardous waste.”

Something both the judge and Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz found particularly troubling about the case was the fact that both of Ludlow’s children were living at the residence while it was used a laboratory to create the illegal substance.

“Exposing your two children to this environment is really tragic, and it does constitute neglect,” Dodge said.

The children have since been removed from Ludlow’s custody and placed in foster care, the judge added.

Ludlow’s defense attorney, Robert Drake, asked Dodge to accept his client’s acceptance in the Family Court rehabilitation program, saying that statistics have proven these programs are more cost effective and have a higher rate of reduced recidivism than straight incarceration.

“I think this is a great opportunity for him,” Drake said. “I’ve had the opportunity to see him at the family treatment court sessions. I’m hopeful he will make the most of this.”

Dodge agreed with Ludlow’s placement in the treatment program, describing it as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” He warned the defendant that should he fail to complete his rehabilitation, though, it would result in an instant probation violation, meaning he would be sentenced to north of five years in prison.

“This is a great chance for you to get yourself clean and straightened out, and reunite with your children,” Dodge said.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Joseph Brewer, 55, of Dowagiac, to one year of probation for attempted failure to register as a sex offender.

• Kevin Maxam, 49, of Three Rivers, to three years of probation for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

• Aaron Sutton, 45, of Jones, to three years of probation for manufacture of methamphetamine and operating/maintaining a lab involving methamphetamine.

• Shawn Reed, 26, of Belleville, Michigan, to 18 months of probation and 39 days in jail for operating while intoxicated.