Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 29, 2013

Drug test service owner pleads guilty

TRAVERSE CITY — The owner of a drug and alcohol testing company pleaded guilty to a felony charge for providing false test results to 86th District Court.

Ryan Matthew Gubbins, 31, of Lake Ann, faces up to 5 years in prison for obstruction of justice. Court officials had an agreement with his company, Tri-County Monitoring Services, for testing individuals on bond or probation, but that ended when allegations arose he allowed a female client to skip daily Breathalyzer and urine screens.

Defense attorney Kenneth Petterson said the case was an “isolated instance” and Gubbins is prepared to accept his sentence on Nov. 22.

“Ryan Gubbins is a good person caught in an unfortunate situation,” he said.

The investigation began in May after a probation officer received information a woman, 23, continued to use drugs and alcohol during her probation. The woman admitted she stopped regularly taking her tests in October 2012 when she missed a testing date and Gubbins told her “we’ll figure it out,” police reports state.

Gubbins originally was charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, 5-year felonies to be served concurrently. The conspiracy charge was dropped after Gubbins’ guilty plea in 13th Circuit Court on Friday.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney declined to comment on the case until after the sentencing hearing.

No similar cases were filed against Gubbins, but court and county officials took the charges seriously; the 86th District Court severed its relationship with Tri-County Monitoring Services in May and the three judges recused themselves from the case.

A visiting judge presiding over a preliminary examination said Gubbins’ actions “usurped” the authority of the court, which relied on the accuracy of the tests. Petterson said he maintains there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue a felony case, but his client accepted the plea agreement out of concern for his family.

“Frankly, we believe the case was overcharged, but that’s the reality of where we were at,” Petterson said.

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