WOOSTER — An Akron couple who were arrested in March running a meth lab admitted involvement and one is heading to prison.
Brandon Painter, 33, and Melissa Luangkhoth, 22, both of 986 Mohawk Trail, are codefendants in Wayne County Common Pleas Court on charges of illegal manufacture of drugs (a first-degree felony, and the most serious charge), aggravated possession of drugs, illegal possession or assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, possessing criminal tools and a misdemeanor count of illegal use/possession of drug paraphernalia.
Luangkhoth pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegal possession or assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, as part of a plea deal in which all other charges were dropped.
Painter was scheduled to begin a jury trial Monday but instead accepted a plea deal.
Painter pleaded guilty to aggravated possession of drugs (second-degree felony) and illegal possession or assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs and was sentenced Monday to five years total in prison. The other three charges were dropped.
Luangkhoth is scheduled to be sentenced July 16 and faces a maximum of three years in prison.
The charges stem from their arrest March 16 in Wooster when a meth lab was discovered in their hotel room in the 900 block of Timken Road and led to an evacuation of other guests at the hotel.
Don Hall, executive director for the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, was called to the scene and dismantled the lab where they had just completed a cook.
He added it is believed the two were dumping hazardous waste from the cooking process down the toilet, such as Coleman fuel, muriatic acid and ammonium nitrate.
Hall said Painter and Luangkhoth also were cooking meth at a residence in the 800 block of Lois Avenue in Wooster where police were called earlier the same night and located meth trash, or the byproducts, left after cooking the drug using the “one-pot” method, such as 2-liter plastic bottles and chemicals used to make meth.
Police were told by a person at the residence Painter and Luangkhoth were staying there until they were kicked out.