Jury trial set for men arrested in connection to meth lab
BAD AXE — Two men arrested in connection to the first meth lab discovered in the City of Bad Axe stood mute to all charges when they appeared in circuit court Monday.
Ryan Scott Welshans, 31, of Bad Axe, faces five charges: operating a methamphetamine laboratory; operating a meth lab near a specified area such as a residence, school or place of worship; manufacture of methamphetamine; possession of methamphetamine; and maintaining a drug house. He is also being charged as a habitual offender, which will increase the maximum prison sentence he might serve if he is convicted, according to Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski.
Ronald Matthew Hartman, 33, faces four charges: operating a methamphetamine lab; operating a methamphetamine lab near a specified place (such as a church, residence, school or business); manufacturing a controlled substance, methamphetamine; and possession of methamphetamine.
Hartman’s trial was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. June 11. Welshans will face his jury on June 25.
Both jury trials are expected to last at least two days.
The meth lab was discovered on Feb. 21 while police were executing a search warrant at 215 W. Butler Street, according to a press release from Bad Axe Police Chief David W. Rothe. During the raid, police seized methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, meth-making ingredients and money.
A third man involved in the bust, Thomas Jared-Frederick Conley, 21, of Bad Axe, pleaded guilty March 25 to three charges of delivery of a controlled substance. Conditions of his plea deal include he must testify truthfully against Welshans and Hartman.
The plea deal also stipulates Conley must pay full restitution and no further charges will be filed against him. His sentencing was set for May 13.
According to Rutkowski, Welshans faces the additional charge of maintaining a drug house because he rented part of the house to Hartman and Conley.
Bond for Hartman, which was set by district court, was continued at $50,000 cash. Hartman’s attorney, Jill Schmidt, asked that Hartman be released on a personal recognizance bond, which Circuit Court Judge M. Richard Knoblock denied based on the magnitude of the charges.
Bond for Welshans, which was also set by district court, was continued at $50,000/10 percent with conditions. Welshans’ attorney, Andrew Lockard, requested a reduced bond, which Knoblock denied based on Welshans’ prior convictions.