INTERLOCHEN — Meth is on the court docket in Grand Traverse County.
On Tuesday, Joshua Lee Bennett, 28, of Interlochen, appeared by video for arraignment in 86th District Court on three methamphetamine-related charges. He and his girlfriend, Shawn Marie Worm, 42, face felony accusations they maintained a meth lab in the Riley Road house they shared with two children.
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said it’s the first meth-related case in the county this year. He said such cases are rare in Grand Traverse County and law enforcement officials aim to keep it that way.
“In general with meth cases we take them very seriously,” Cooney said. “Once meth takes a foothold it spreads very rapidly. It’s a very dangerous substance.”
A police report states that on Dec. 5 Traverse Narcotics Team detectives received a tip that Bennett and Worm made meth in their bedroom. Investigation showed showed Bennett and Worm purchased Sudafed and nasal decongestant, potential ingredients in making methamphetamine, on two separate dates in November, the report states.
A warrant search found items commonly used in making meth manufacture — cracked-open batteries, tubing and Sudafed or cough medicine blister packs — and a partially burned pop bottle, consistent with the “one pot” method of producing meth, in a fire pit behind the house, according to the report.
Bennett denied having knowledge of meth production.
“When asked about buying Sudafed, Bennett stated he and Shawn both had colds recently, and they had gotten some medicine,” the police report states.
Bennett and Worm both face charges of operating or maintaining and methamphetamine laboratory in the presence of a minor, conspiracy to manufacture meth and maintaining a drug house. Bennett remains in Grand Traverse County’s jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond while Worm faces arrest on a warrant.
Bennett’s and Worm’s case isn’t the only meth-related matter in the court this week. Two of the three suspects — Kent Miller, 29, of Petoskey, and Nicole Geahan, 26 — connected with a May drug bust in the Shadowland Motel on Munson Avenue are scheduled for preliminary examinations in 86th District Court on meth-related felonies. A third suspect, Jacklyn Louise Vaughn, 30, pleaded guilty to possession and is on probation.
The Shadowland Motel was also the location of another meth case last year that led to three convictions.