The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood man gets 10 years for drug charge


December 13, 2017

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

Ryan Reinhard, left, sits with his attorney, Jim Bucknell, in Gogebic County Circuit Court Tuesday. Reinhard was sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison on drug charges.


Bessemer - An Ironwood man was sentenced to at least a decade in prison Tuesday in Gogebic County Circuit Court.

Ryan Frank Reinhard, 30, was sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. He received a jail credit of 143 days for time previously served.

"This was an active conspiracy involving numerous people in Gogebic County engaging in an enterprise of obtaining, distributing and using methamphetamine - and Mr. Reinhard was a part of that. He may not have been the kingpin, but he was an active player in that," Gogebic County Circuit Judge Michael Pope said when imposing sentence. "He made numerous trips to Minnesota to obtain methamphetamine; he also admitted he would distribute methamphetamine, he would use methamphetamine and he had a group he referred to as persons he would sell to on a regular basis.

"This went far beyond being addicted to methamphetamine, this was actively engaging in the distribution of methamphetamine in our community."

Reinhard pleaded guilty to the charge Oct. 25 as part of a plea agreement that had a second 20-year felony - conspiracy to possess meth with the intent to deliver - dismissed at Tuesday's sentencing.

The 10-year minimum sentence was recommended by Gogebic County Prosecutor Nick Jacobs and fell within the guidelines recommended by the Michigan Department of Correction's pre-sentence report.

"It's not just a disease, it's contagious. It's infectious in the way it has spread throughout our community," Jacobs said regarding meth addiction.

Reinhard's attorney, Jim Bucknell, acknowledged punishment had to be imposed in the case but asked Pope to impose a sentence closer to the seven years that was the lower end of the pre-sentence report's recommendation.

He argued that something beside punishment needed to be done to treat drug addiction, as jails and prisons were filling up with non-violent drug offenders.

Bucknell also argued Reinhard only played a minor role in the conspiracy to bring drugs into the county and imposing a similar sentence to the leaders wasn't fair.

"Mr. Reinhard definitely was not the leader, he was a follower. He was so much of a follower he was getting paid in drugs to work on the dealer's car," Bucknell said. "... Unfortunately for Mr. Reinhard, he was at the bottom of the totem pole there basically, he was anything but a kingpin. He was not the main man there."

While he agreed there is no doubt Reinhard is addicted to methamphetamine and that played an issue in his criminal history, Pope said it was time for the system to say "enough was enough."

"Mr. Reinhard has been afforded every opportunity we can afford someone to try to beat the addiction of methamphetamine," Pope said, detailing how probation and treatment efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. "... Now we find Mr. Reinhard is at the point where he is actively out there getting others to use methamphetamine, bringing it to this area. So his addiction is now affecting many, many, many others in our community.

"There comes a point when it is this court's obligation to bring an end to that."

Pope discussed Reinhard's criminal history, including his 12 misdemeanor convictions and how this was his third felony conviction - all three of which occurred in the last five years.

The felony charges in Tuesday's case stem from July search of a Tamarack Street, Ironwood, house; which resulted in the discovery large quantities of crystal meth, prescription medication, marijuana, a firearm and ammunition according to a police press release at the time.

Reinhard is one of seven people facing charges in connection to the search.

Jeffrey Thomas Gorecki, 45, was sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to deliver meth last month.

Four others have pleaded guilty and await being sentenced.

Jenifer Lynn Powell, 34, of Ironwood, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess meth with intent to deliver and a habitual offender-second offense designation Oct. 31 and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 16.

Jonathan Phillip Thomas, 31, of Mercer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess meth with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug house on Oct. 23 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 19.

Jeffrey Elton Schmiege, 48, of Ironwood, pleaded guilty Monday to possession with intent to deliver meth, conspiracy to deliver meth and maintaining a drug house. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 13.

Jakob Wayne Applekamp, 28, of Hurley, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver meth.

The final co-defendant - David Wayne Opsahl, 44, of Big Lake Minn. - is also facing charges.

Along with being sentenced on the latest felony charge, Reinhard was sentenced Tuesday for violating his probation in a previous case. At the time of his arrest in July, Reinhard was still on probation after being convicted of being a felon in possession of ammunition in connection to the July 2015 arrest of several people - most notably Donovan Payeur - on drug and weapons charges.

Pope sentenced Reinhard to between just over three years and five years Tuesday for the probation violation, with 456 days jail credit for time served. Reinhard will serve this sentence at the same time as the longer meth sentence.


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