A Rootstown man caught making methamphetamine in a Sandy Lake Road residence could face up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to a felony charge.
Justin L. Smith, 19, of 4289 Sandy Lake Road, recently pleaded guilty to one count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony, in Portage County Common Pleas Court. Judge Laurie Pittman ordered a pre-sentence investigation pending sentencing in her courtroom at a later date.
Smith was arrested by the Portage County Drug Task Force on Aug. 10 after Portage County sheriff's deputies discovered an illegal meth lab in the basement of his father's home while searching for a suspect with a warrant for his arrest.
Deputies seeking Richard S. Pope Jr., 29, on a robbery warrant caught up to him at the back door of 4289 Sandy Lake Road. Subsequent to the arrest, Smith refused to allow officers to search the house, according to Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci.
But the homeowner, Smith's father, consented to the search, which revealed a portable meth lab inside a black backpack in the basement. Trained officers were dispatched to remove toxic chemicals from the residence, he said.
Further investigation revealed that Justin Smith had purchased large amounts of cold medication containing pseudoephedrine, one of the ingredients in illegal methamphetamine, at numerous pharmacies in Portage County, Vigluicci said. Drug paraphernalia also was seized from the house.
The charges were made more serious because a 17-year-old girl was present when Smith was making the drugs, Portage County Sheriff David Doak said at the time.
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