CLINTON—A Knoxville woman received a 10-year sentence and was ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution after pleading guilty Friday to a methamphetamine manufacturing charge following a raid at an apartment in Oak Ridge two years ago.
The meth lab raid occurred at an apartment on Tusculum Drive in central Oak Ridge on March 30, 2016. Agents found an active meth lab and items used to make meth, according to a property forfeiture affidavit filed by Russell Barker, who was director of the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force in Anderson County. The raid followed an undercover or covert narcotics investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine.
Kimberly Hughes Welch, 51, pleaded guilty to four charges related to the raid in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on Friday. Three are felonies, and one is a misdemeanor.
Welch’s longest sentence, 10 years, was for a reduced charge of the initiation of methamphetamine manufacturing, a Class B felony. The initial charge had been the initiation of methamphetamine manufacturing in a school zone (the apartment is within 1,000 feet of La Petite Academy on Tulsa Road). That would have been a Class A felony.
Welch was ordered to serve 364 days in the county jail, with credit for time served and a release eligibility of 75 percent. The rest of her sentence will be suspended, and Welch will be placed on state-supervised probation. She and her co-defendant, Raynell Hopson, 50, are expected to pay $50,000 in restitution to the victim, making minimum payments of $100 per month, according to the criminal judgment filed Friday. That’s to help recover the costs of cleaning and restoring the apartment.
Welch is to submit to random drug tests and complete treatment, register on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation registry, and pay court costs, the criminal judgment said.
She received a three-year sentence for a reduced charge of possession with methamphetamine with the intent to sell it, a Class C felony, and a two-year sentence for the promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, a Class D felony.
The conditions for those two charges are similar to the conditions imposed for the first charge, the initiation of methamphetamine manufacturing.
Welch also received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days for a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. She is to pay a fine of $150. The paraphernalia included items similar to those used to weigh and package drugs for sale, and to ingest them, the affidavits said.
The four sentences are concurrent, meaning Welch will serve them at the same time. That means she received an effective 10-year sentence.
The raid on March 30, 2016, was conducted by Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force agents, who had a search warrant, according to affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton.
The agents found several meth lab components, including gas generators, hoses, bi-layer liquids, pseudoephedrine powder, and other chemicals used in the initiation and manufacturing of methamphetamine, the affidavits said. After she was advised of her Miranda rights, Welch said she and Hopson were using the items to make meth, according to the affidavits.
Agents learned that the two were cooking meth using a “Red P” method, according to the forfeiture warrant affidavit.
“Welch gave a detailed account of the process and stated she usually used one to two boxes of pseudoephedrine, and the cook would yield approximately 1.5-2 grams,” the forfeiture affidavit said.
Charges against Welch were waived to the Anderson County Grand Jury on August 29, 2016. She was indicted by the Anderson County Grand Jury on February 7, 2017. A grand jury indictment moves a case from General Sessions Court to Criminal Court.
The case against Hopson is still pending.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See original story here.
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