NEWS

Another meth cook headed to prison

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Dustin M. Ginther was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison Aug. 18 in Mercer County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to the Class 1 felony of Participation in Methamphetamine Manufacturing.

"While we usually seek (eight) to 10 years in prison for the cooks, in this case the small amount involved and his full cooperation helped us solve other cases," First Assistant State's Attorney Meeghan Lee said. "Mr. Ginther was allowed a shorter sentence based on his cooperation, which led to several arrests and convictions."

Lee explained that finding the cooks is often the first step in finding the "gatherers," people who obtain anhydrous ammonia, certain medications, tubing and other materials used to manufacture the drug.

"What it is, we'll run into a cook because somebody will smell it or see it," she said of the methamphetamine. She said the cooks in turn will often tell authorities where and from whom they obtained the supplies.

Lee said the state law that requires information from those who buy pharmaceuticals used to cook meth has been invaluable.

"You have to give them (the pharmacy) your driver's license and your information. There's a statewide data base" created from that information. Authorities can check that data base as part of the investigation, she said.

"He (Ginther) led to the arrest of at least three other people," Lee added, "and conviction of three other people."

Ginther was arrested June 20. Deputies seized hazardous materials related to the cooking of meth, as well as some of the finished product.

The office of Mercer County State's Attorney Gregory McHugh credited "the hard work and excellent investigation conducted by Detective Anthony Baugh and the follow up by the entire Mercer (County) Sheriff's Department" for making the case "a complete success."

"This brings nearly a dozen guilty pleas in 2015 methamphetamine related cases," Lee said.

She explained meth is not a new problem in Mercer County, but "we're definitely more aware of it. … We're much more aware of its presence," which has led to the arrests and convictions this year.