GREENVILLE – A Union City man was sentenced to a mandatory prison term for his role in an active meth lab found by police in December.
Paul E. Brown Jr., 41, of Union City, entered a guilty plea Tuesday morning in Darke County Common Pleas Court to a charge of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacturing of drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony. As part of the plea agreement, a separate charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, was dismissed.
The penalty for the illegal assembly charge is mandated by state law at exactly 36 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Brown received 121 credit for time served.
Brown was arrested Dec. 14 following a traffic stop. As soon as the vehicle, containing three people, was stopped, Brown fled on foot, leading police on a short foot pursuit.
Brown was placed under arrest on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on the earlier charge of aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine).
The two other passengers also were arrested, and drug-related items were found in the vehicle.
Because of the items found in the search of the vehicle and information received earlier, a search of one of the other passengers’ residences was conducted. Four active meth cooks were found.
In addition to the prison term, Brown was subject to a mandatory license suspension. His license was suspended for two years. He also is subject to up to three years of post-release control.
Judge Jonathan Hein told Brown that he appreciated Brown’s willingness to accept responsibility for his actions, and he recommended that Brown seek help from the probation department to help him seek housing and use other resources when he gets out of prison.
“If you pull it together, you have credibility that none of us will have,” Hein said. “I’d like to use you sometime as an encouragement to other people. I could sit here and wag my tongue – don’t mean Jack, because I haven’t walked in your shoes.”
Hein told Brown that if he makes a serious effort to change his life after prison he could one day serve to inspire others with drug problems to do the same.
“You prove yourself for a few years, and you could be a good role model,” Hein added.