A woman recently dropped off a Van Buren County man at a local hospital and left without giving an explanation about how the man got severe burns on his body. The 60-year-old man had suffered burns on his stomach, legs and hands a day earlier, but was not taken to the hospital until almost noon the next day. Detectives determined that the man suffered the burns from his involvement in a meth lab.
The man was airlifted to the burn unit of a Kalamazoo hospital. He sustained the burns at a residence in Gobles, reportedly occupied by the woman who drove him to hospital.
The burn victim and another man had purchased meth lab equipment and were in the process of manufacturing meth at the woman's residence, according to police reports. All three were apparently involved in the manufacture.
Police claim that the victim's burns occurred when he was manufacturing meth in a plastic bottle outside of the house. The bottle exploded while the man was seated next to a camp fire. The female suspect put out the fire after she heard the man scream for help. The case is still under investigation, but it is likely that all three suspects will be charged with operating and maintaining a meth lab and maintaining a drug house.
In Michigan, it is illegal to possess or manufacture illicit drugs, including meth. The laws and penalties vary based on kind of drug, quantity of drugs and geographic region involved in a case. In response to the charges, a court may order prison time, hefty fines, community service and drug treatment if a conviction is achieved. In addition to other factors, courts consider a defendant's history of drug use when determining their sentence.
No matter the severity of charges, it is important to remember that an individual is always presumed innocent until proven otherwise. If the prosecution cannot meet the burden of proof to demonstrate guilt, then accused may be relieved of the accusations leveled against them.
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Meth lab burn victim dropped off at hospital with no explanation in Van Buren County," Anthony Smigiel, Sep. 5, 2012