IRON MOUNTAIN — An Iron Mountain woman who pleaded guilty to a meth lab charge has received her sentence.
Erica Courney, 23, was originally charged with possession of meth, operating and maintaining a meth lab, operating and maintaining a meth lab in the presence of a minor and first–degree retail fraud.
As part of a plea agreement entered in early December, she pleaded guilty to operating and maintaining a meth lab in the presence of a minor. The other three counts were dropped.
Before her sentence was handed down, Courney made a tearful statement.
“My choices from here on out will be for the better of mine and my children’s well–being,” said Courney. “This I make a promise. I am sincerely sorry and I only ask for forgiveness. I would like to thank you, because jail saved my life.”
Courney will serve two years and one month to 20 years in prison, with credit for 84 days already served. She will have to pay $550 in restitution, as well as undisclosed fines, fees and costs.
Both the prosecutor and the judge presiding over the case mentioned the need for stiff penalties in cases like this to help send a message to the community.
“Your honor, we have to keep sending a strong message here,” said Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards. “That message is whoever involves themselves with this drug is going to prison for a long time.”
“There are several reasons for imposing a felony sentence,” said Judge Richard Celello. “One of them is deterrence. I hope that — another one is rehabilitation — and I hope this serves to rehabilitate you, but I want to send a message to this community that this will not be tolerated here. It’s so dangerous.”
Courney was arrested in October along with her fiance and co–defendant, Charles Slaton, 34, at their home on West B Street. The meth lab was found during a welfare check on a child at the house by the Iron Mountain Police and the Department of Human Services.
Slaton has pleaded guilty to operating and maintaining a meth lab, operating and maintaining a meth lab in the presence of a minor and first–degree retail fraud. He’ll be sentenced on February 17th.