Jail time for man with tools for making meth

A Marietta man convicted of gathering ingredients to make meth was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to serve at least three months in the Washington County Jail before being transfered to a treatment program.

Chad W. Warner, 28, of 260 Greenbrier Circle, pleaded guilty June 24 to a third-degree felony count of illegal possession of chemicals for manufacturing drugs for purchasing common methamphetamine ingredient pseudoephedrine in January.

During the same time frame, Trent D. Mason, 24, of Marietta, purchased several other necessary meth ingredients, such as sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, an instant cold pack, a can of Coleman fuel and lithium batteries.

When agents from the Major Crimes Task Force stopped Warner’s car the same evening of the pseudoephedrine purchase, Warner was not driving. However, most of the compiled meth ingredients were still in his vehicle.

Warner told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth that the meth-making venture was Mason’s doing and that he had been down on his luck when he agreed to help.

“I wasn’t working at the time. My co-defendant asked me to buy him pseudoephedrine and in return he’d buy me cigarettes, put gas in my truck, and give me a few bucks,” said Warner, apparently tearing up at times as he read from a letter he had prepared.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb asked for a prison sentence in the case, citing Warner’s previous convictions.

While on community control in 2010, Warner was charged with theft and drug trafficking. After another felony drug possession charge in 2011, his community control was revoked and Warner was ordered to serve a year in prison, said Erb.

“It’s the state’s position that community control would not be effective. Therefore we’re recommending a one-year prison sentence,” he said.

Warner asked Burnworth to “evaluate better, more sensible punishments,” saying that he is now gainfully employed, backed by a supportive family, and is having success combating his opiate addiction with monthly Suboxone treatments at recently opened rehabilitation clinic SelfRefind.

“When I heard about the new program, I was so interested in it that I drove clear to Kentucky to sign up,” said Warner.

He concluded his letter by asking that Burnworth give him “something to work with so I can be a good role model.”

Burnworth sentenced Warner to community control but noted it would be his last chance.

“Rest assured … if you violate community control I’ll be sending you to prison for 36 months,” said Burnworth.

A 36-month prison sentence is the maximum Warner could receive.

Burnworth sentenced Warner to 180 days in the Washington County Jail but ordered him to take the first bed available at the SEPTA Correctional Facility after 90 days. He has credit for 54 days.

While at SEPTA, Warner has to earn his GED. He will also be required to undergo counseling at L&P Services upon his release and will undergo evaluation for the court’s “Thinking For A Change” program, a cognitive behavioral change program developed by The National Institute of Corrections.

Mason, who had faced the same charge out of the incident, pleaded guilty instead to two unrelated fourth-degree heroin trafficking charges on May 15. In return the third-degree felony count of illegal possession of chemicals for manufacturing drugs was dropped. Mason was sentenced the day of his plea to serve 31 months in prison on the drug trafficking charges.