Niles woman sentenced for possession of 103 marijuana plants

CASSOPOLIS — A Niles woman who prosecutors say took part in a massive drug operation has been sentenced to probation.

Friday morning, Cass County Circuit Court Judge Mark Herman sentenced Jeanne Elizabeth Mackie, 40, of the 1700 block of Burton Road in Niles, to one year probation on charges of possession of a controlled substance, maintaining a drug house and possession of marijuana. She was also sentenced to one day in Cass County Jail, with credit for one day already served.

Jeanne Elizabeth Mackie

Mackie, who worked as nurse a for 16 years at Lakeland Hospital, pleaded guilty to the charges on Jan. 16.

The charges stem from an incident that took place on Oct. 28, 2016, at Mackie’s residence in Niles. At the time, police officers executed a search warrant at Mackie’s home and found a marijuana grow room containing 103 marijuana plants. Police also found firearms and $14,000 cash in a safe under a desk in the residence.

According to Mackie’s defense, her boyfriend at the time of the incident was running the grow operation and she was unaware of the extent of the criminal activity taking place. The defense also said that the $14,000 cash was from the recent sale of three of Mackie’s horses.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said that Mackie had displayed “terrible judgement” in this case.

“This defendant was taking part in a massive drug operation, whether she realizes that or not,” Fitz said. “This was clearly, clearly illegal.”

Despite his feelings about Mackie’s behavior, Fitz recommended that she receive probation rather than the prison time that she could have received as a result of her conviction.

“We hope that she will be able to move past this and find something strictly law abiding,” Fitz said.

Due to Mackie’s lack of previous criminal offenses, the judge decided to abide by the court’s recommendation and sentence Mackie to one year probation.

At sentencing, Herman also acknowledged the hardship Mackie is going through having lost her job and nursing license due to her conviction.

“You are being forced to find a new career path after 16 years,” Herman said. “When I look at your background, that in and of itself will be a good lesson to you. I believe the recommendation for probation is appropriate here.”

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