Man sentenced to four years for meth lab operation

By Juliette Laaka | Sep 02, 2014
Source: Knox County Jail Damien Welch

Rockland — A 23-year-old Owls Head man, formerly of California, was sentenced to serve four years in prison Sept. 2 after he admitted his involvement in operating a methamphetamine lab on South Shore Drive in November.

Through a plea deal negotiated by Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley and defense attorney Kimberly Richardson, Damien Welch's total sentence is eight years in prison with all but four years suspended. Welch will also be subject to three years of probation.

Welch pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated trafficking of methamphetamine.

The sentence imposed by Justice Joyce Wheeler was six years in prison with all but 15 months of the sentence suspended. Gregory was also ordered to follow terms of probation for two years.

Welch's co-conspirators, Travis Batty, 30, of Rockland, and Anthony Torre, 22, of California, were sentenced earlier this year to serve four and three years in prison, respectively. A fourth person involved, Heather Gregory, 41, of Owls Head was sentenced to six years in prison with all but 15 months suspended.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agents raided a home on South Shore Drive in Owls Head Nov. 15, 2013, seizing evidence of methamphetamine manufacturing.

Agents executed a search warrant at 21 South Shore Drive and spent five hours processing the scene, said Scott Pelletier of the MDEA in November.

Agents wearing hazardous materials protection suits entered the home and gathered evidence of methamphetamine manufacturing. Pelletier said it appears the drug had been produced a number of times at that location.

The chemicals used in the process of making the drug are both toxic and potentially explosive, according to officials at the scene.

Pelletier said the suspects used a "one-pot" method to produce the drug, which is a less refined version of crystal methamphetamine. Agents dismantled five containers inside the home where meth was suspected to have been made, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.

Agents had been investigating the location for about a month, Pelletier said.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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