(11/16/2005)
Grantsville resident John M. Richards, 41, pled to one count of receiving stolen property in Calhoun Circuit Court yesterday before Judge David Nibert.

The stolen property charges are allegedly related to items stolen from Hardman Supply Company in Grantsville, although Richards has also been charged with stolen property counts in adjacent counties.

Two other stolen property counts filed in Calhoun were dropped in a plea agreement with the state, according to Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney.

Richards has reportedly agreed to testify on behalf of the state in at least one other case in exchange for the reduction of charges.

An earlier report said mulch and underpinning were among the items taken from Hardman Supply, items that were reportedly found in Richards' possession.

Richards has also been charged with attempting to manufacture meth in his Grantsville residence, and exposure of a minor child to meth manufacturing.

A probable cause linking him to the meth charges has been continued in Calhoun Magistrate Court.

Richards is being held in Central Regional Jail for violating his bond from the earlier offense, related to receiving stolen goods.

In the meth case, Sgt. Darrin Campbell of the Grantsville detachment said officers went to Richard's residence in south Grantsville after obtaining a search warrant.

Sgt. Tom Yanero, Trooper First Class Jeff Hunt and Grantsville Police Chief Ron Gordon also participated in the bust.

A search led by Trooper Hunt "observed a quantity of pseudoephedrine, along with plastic tubing, three bottles of "Heet," three bottles of iodine, acetone and Coleman camp fuel."

Officer Hunt reported "the presence of a minor child, who is the natural child of the defendant's domestic partner, in the same vehicle that was used to transport the meth lab."

Richards could face 2-10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000-$25,000 over his alleged attempt to operate a drug lab.

On the possession of a substance as a precursor to manufacture meth, Richards faces penalties of 2-10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.

For exposing a child to meth manufacturing, he is facing penalties up to five years and a $10,000 fine.

Richards has issued several video tapes to the media which asserts he was operating in the public good to break-up meth production in Calhoun and Gilmer County.

Richards has also been circulating tapes which reportedly show numerous individuals allegedly making drug deals in the two-county area.

The court also processed two informations, one for Joey Kute related to the manufacturing of meth and Alfred Rose, Jr. related to unlawful assault.


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