March 21, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 67

Five charged in meth lab busts

BESSEMER — Gogebic County Prosecutor Richard Adams has authorized charges against the five people who were arrested early Tuesday morning for meth-making in two busts.

A house was raided at 525 Florence St. in Ironwood, followed by a second search of a residence on River Street in Ramsay.

Both busts were conducted by the Gogebic-Iron Area Narcotics Team, with the cooperation of other area law enforcement officers and the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team.

Arrested in the Ironwood raid were George Davis, 59; Kristin Carter, 31, and Wendy Hemmings, 40.

Davis faces three counts of operating or maintaining a methamphetamines laboratory, which are 20-year felonies. He is also charged with maintaining a meth lab within 500 feet of a residence and possession of meth. He was incarcerated in the Gogebic County Jail in Bessemer on $150,000 cash bond.

Hemmings faces the same charges as Davis and she was being held on an equal bond.

Carter is charged with one count of maintaining a meth lab, maintaining a meth lab within 500 feet of a residence and possession of meth. She was jailed on a $125,000 cash bond.

In the Ramsay bust, Cindi Christensen, 34, and Joel Graser Jr., 35, are charged with two counts of operating or maintaining a meth lab, operating a meth lab within 500 feet of a residence and possession of meth. Their cash bonds are set at $165,000.

Officers collected numerous components that are used in the manufacture of meth, along with methamphetamines and other items, according to a GIANT news release.

Because of the hazardous and toxic nature of meth-making labs, a certified hazardous waste response team must remove the laboratory components and chemicals. The chemicals are then disposed of.

In Ironwood, two neighbors were evacuated because of their proximity to the meth-making operation and the propensity for a fire.

While that was an inconvenience for the neighbors in the early morning hours, an officer said he was sure that residents in that neighborhood were grateful for the enforcement action.

Firefighters were called to be on standby until the lab could be rendered safe.

GIANT officers said Wednesday there is potential for more arrests.