The Richmond Register

Crime

December 14, 2013

Berea trio plead guilty in connection to garage meth lab

RICHMOND — A Berea man, his girlfriend and his father all pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with a methamphetamine lab found Aug. 14 in the garage of their Apple Grove subdivision home.

Jeffery L. Lanham, 52, pleaded guilty in Madison Circuit Court to manufacturing methamphetamine, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Because he previously has been convicted of a felony charge, Lanham could have received a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. However, the commonwealth’s attorney recommended dropping the persistent felony offender charge and requested a sentence of 15 years.

Lanham’s girlfriend, Judy M. Klein, 45, and father, Lee L. Lanham, 76, pleaded guilty to amended charges of facilitation to manufacture methamphetamine. Their recommended sentences were three years in prison.

Lee Lanham’s attorney acknowledged that the state drug-purchasing database KASPAR shows that Lee Lanham and Klein purchased pseudoephedrine-containing cold medicine frequently over a long period. The chemical is an essential ingredient in making methamphetamine.

The attorney also noted that the strong smell of chemicals coming from the home’s garage should have tipped the two off to Jeffery Lanham’s activities.

Klein told the judge she thought Jeffery Lanham was selling or trading the cold medicine, not making the drug himself.

The three also were charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after police discovered a sore-ridden dog locked in a cage in the garage where the lab was found. However, the animal-cruelty charge was dropped against the trio as part of their plea agreements.

Their sentencing hearings will be next month.

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