Woman gets prison for drug charge
ESCANABA — One of four women who were arrested for working together to make meth at Gladstone’s campground this summer, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in Delta County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Tiffani Lara Conner, 28, of Escanaba, was arrested in June along with co-defendants Sarah Jean Doutree, 24, Chelsea Michelle Heimerl, 25, and Heather Marie Mlostek, 26, all of Gladstone. Each was initially charged with conspiracy to deliver/manufacture meth, a 20-year felony.
Conner is the first of the four co-defendants to be sentenced in circuit court.
Conner pleaded guilty to one count of possession of meth relating to her arrest on June 14 in conjunction with her three co-defendants’ arrests. In a separate case, she also pleaded guilty to possession of meth stemming from a Feb. 27 incident when she sold the drug for $100 to a confidential informant.
Because of her past criminal history, she was sentenced as a second-offense habitual offender, which increased the maximum sentencing on each of the 10-year felonies.
Lengthy discussion took place in court Tuesday regarding one of Conner’s pre-sentencing investigation reports, which determine a sentencing range on each count based on several factors of past and present charges.
Conner’s attorney, Timothy Cain, objected to the pre-sentencing investigation report and requested a new one be prepared. He expressed concern his client was originally charged with delivery/manufacture of meth when arrested in February and then a second charge of possession of meth was added later for plea purposes.
Cain was concerned that both charges from the February incident were factored in the pre-sentence investigation report, resulting in a higher sentencing range on the second count of the same charge of possession of meth stemming from Conner’s arrest in June.
Delta County Prosecutor Philip Strom requested an evidentiary hearing be held using the February police report as proof for the sentencing guidelines.
Judge John Economopoulos denied Cain’s request and accepted the police report to review the facts.
After additional discussion, the judge sentenced Conner to two concurrent sentences with different minimum prison terms, noting the defendant’s criminal history.
Conner was arrested for meth at least twice, served time in prison for meth, failed at drug treatment, and violated her probation.
“You’re not changing your ways,” Economopoulos told the defendant.
In regards to the February incident, Conner was sentenced to a minimum of 28 months to a maximum of 12 and a half years in prison on one count of possession of meth.
Because the first count of possession of meth compounded sentencing factors on the second count of possession of meth, Conner was ordered to spend a minimum of 47 months to up to 12 and a half years in prison in regards to her arrest in June.
Conner was also ordered to pay $100 in restitution and a total of $396 in fines and costs.
In exchange for her two guilty pleas for possession of meth, the court dismissed — at the request of the prosecutor — one count of delivery/manufacture of meth, one count of conspiracy to deliver/manufacture meth, and two counts of operating a meth lab.
Regarding the current status of Conner’s three co-defendants, Heimerl pleaded guilty to one count of possession of meth, a 10-year felony, and pleaded guilty to soliciting another person to manufacture meth, a five-year felony. She will be sentenced on Oct. 30. She remains lodged in the county jail in lieu of a $200,000 bond.
Doutree, who is out on bond, pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a drug vehicle, a two-year high court misdemeanor. Her sentencing is also scheduled for Oct. 30.
Mlostek pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to a felony and will be sentenced on the five-year felony in circuit court on Nov. 13. She remains lodged in the county jail in lieu of a $175,000 bond.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org