Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

November 30, 2012

Meth lab at law office; attorney charged

WAYLAND (AP) — A criminal defense attorney faces multiple drug charges months after authorities found a methamphetamine lab in his law office down the street from a West Michigan police station.

Patrick Burson, 35, was free Thursday on bond after a video arraignment Wednesday from the Allegan County Jail on four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two possession of methamphetamine counts.

Burson, 28-year-old Polly Gates and 36-year-old Sherry Cunningham turned themselves in Wednesday to the Allegan County sheriff's office.

Members of the West Michigan Enforcement Team executed search warrants June 13 at Burson's Otsego home and his office in downtown Wayland, about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids.

Methamphetamine labs and production components were found at both locations, according to Michigan State Police.

Cash also was seized.

The Allegan County prosecutor has recused himself and the case was turned over to the Berrien County prosecutor's office.

"It's the first time for me," Berrien assistant prosecutor Jeff Taylor said of tackling a drug case where a fellow lawyer is one of the defendants. "I will handle it like any other drug court case." Gates, of Otsego, was charged with four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab, two counts of delivery/manufacturing of methamphetamine, and two counts of possession of the drug.

Cunningham, also of Otsego, was charged with possession of methamphetamines.

Like Burson, they have been released on personal recognizance bonds pending Dec. 6 preliminary examinations.

The Associated Press left messages or voicemails Thursday morning seeking comment from each of their lawyers.

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