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Van Buren County meth bust results in drug charges

Four men have been indicted on drug charges after authorities seized 23 pounds of crystal meth about 50 miles outside of Kalamazoo. A U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids said that the men were arrested in Van Buren County on Aug. 13 and were charged in connection with an alleged drug smuggling ring. The meth was seized after undercover agents made several purchases.

The men have all been charged with conspiracy to possess, possession of methamphetamines and intent to distribute. They have pled not guilty to the charges, which carry the penalty of jail time of 10 years to life. Two defendants are from Michigan and the other two are from Missouri.

Possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine are against state and federal laws.

Penalties for drug possession depend on the type of drug, the amount and the state or city in which the offense took place. The types of charges defendants face will depend on the amount of the drug involved. Defendants carrying small amounts of drugs are charged with "possession," while larger amounts can lead to charges such as "possession with intent to distribute."

In Michigan, it is legal for police officers, drug stores and grocery stores to keep track of people's purchases when the items may be related to drug manufacturing. Sometimes buying products commonly used in meth production can lead to an arrest. These products include ephedrine, tubing, wooden spoons, lithium batteries or Coleman gas. Even if they are not intended for meth production, they can lead to questioning by police eager to cut down on meth labs and possession.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "US says 23 lb. of crystal meth seized, 4 charged," Aug. 20, 2012

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