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Woman sentenced to two years in meth case

Posted: August 27, 2013 - 12:05am

A Juneau woman who pleaded guilty to crimes relating to the manufacture of methamphetamine was sentenced Monday to serve two years in jail.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez accepted a plea deal that imposed a composite sentence of seven years in jail with five years suspended for Jennifer T. Hartsock, 36. She will be placed on probation after her release for three years.

Hartsock and her boyfriend Benjamin J. Parson, also 36, were charged with purchasing illegal amounts of cold medicine after state troopers obtained video footage of the two buying double the legal amount of pseudoephedrine at various Juneau pharmacies.

Troopers alleged the two were buying the medicine for two men who were caught in October 2012 cooking meth at a commercial warehouse in Hoonah. Authorities then executed a search warrant at the Hartsock/Parson home in December 2012 and discovered six “one-pot” meth labs in the boiler room.

One-pot labs are a simplistic way of cooking meth, usually by using a two-liter plastic soda bottle, cold medicine and other household materials.

After their arrest, the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority, which owns and manages the Kanata Street property, found that the home was contaminated with traces of meth. They spent $12,000 to $15,000 cleaning it up, but the duplex will still be listed as an illegal drug manufacturing site for the next five years, as required by state statutes.

Hartsock and Parson both pled guilty last month to two felonies: purchasing more than the allowable amount of listed chemicals in a 30-day period and for possessing chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Parson’s case is still pending, and he is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

During the Monday hearing, Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp and defense attorney David Mallet both called Hartsock’s plea deal a good resolution since it includes a substantial amount of suspended jail time. Kemp said that should act as a deterrent because the judge could impose some or all of the suspended time if Hartsock does not follow conditions of probation.

Mallet expressed concern that society throws people with addiction in jail rather than focusing on their rehabilitation.

The judge agreed that rehabilitation should be the number one factor in this case, saying Hartsock does not present a danger to the community.

When given an opportunity to speak, Hartsock apologized and told the judge she has completed the drug addiction treatment program at the jail since she’s been incarcerated.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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