A woman involved in a "super" meth lab discovered on West Vine Street was sentenced to prison, but the judge took notice of her progress to turn her life around while awaiting sentencing.
Charity Hinton, 31, 2203 Cleveland Road, Wooster, was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday in Wayne County Common Pleas Court. She was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of meth, a third-degree felony.
The charge against Hinton stems from a large-scale meth cooking operation at a home located at 303 W. Vine St. on Feb. 4.
Wooster Police were called to the home on a domestic disturbance as Hinton and John Eli Marlow, 54, Wooster, were at the home and engaged in an argument.
While on scene, law enforcement discovered items consistent with making the drug and a search yielded 32 one-pot meth labs throughout the home. The following day, investigators returned to the scene and found more meth trash, and thereby brought the total of one-pot meth labs up to 43.
It was the largest bust in the history of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, according to Don Hall, the agency's director.
Hinton's attorney, Public Defender Heather Hillary, informed the court at Wednesday's sentencing hearing that her client was cooperative in the investigation, stayed clean and made progress toward turning her life around.
"I'm trying my best to turn my life around," Hinton said. "I'm trying to make a new start."
Judge Corey Spitler noted the progress she had made and said typically with these meth charges he gives defendants a three-year prison sentence.
He said this time he would give her two years, which is important because she is then eligible to apply for judicial release after 30 days; she would not be eligible to apply for judicial release for six months with a three-year sentence.
He cautioned her, though, as he saw it as a "red flag" that she was in a relationship with a convicted felon, who is a felon on a drug charge.
"I see this time and again," Spitler said. "If people don't change their associates, they can get sucked right back in ... that's the one thing I'd be concerned about."
Marlow later told officers the duo had been cooking meth at the home since the previous summer.
He pleaded guilty to the same meth charge as Hinton and was sentenced to three years in prison in May.
By STEVEN F. HUSZAI @the-daily-record.com