Pubdate: Sat, 03 Dec 2005
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2005 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Elizabeth Donald
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Parent Faces Charges Under New Law

COLLINSVILLE - Police raided an suspected meth lab in Collinsville on 
Wednesday, a house that was also home to a six-year-old child.

Madison County sheriff's deputies and the Metropolitan Enforcement 
Group of Southwestern Illinois raided 3325 Arlington Drive, executing 
a search warrant based on tips there was illegal drug activity in the house.

Police said they found several chemicals used to make 
methamphetamine, along with the finished product. Cocaine, cannabis, 
a semi-automatic pistol and a shotgun also were found, police said.

Also present in the house: a six-year-old child of one of the 
arrested people. Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Burns declined to name the 
parent, but said a family member took temporary custody of the child 
and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating.

New laws passed in September make the penalties stiffer for meth 
production around children, Burns said.

"The aggravating factors (for criminal charges) were the weapons in 
the house and a child in the house," Burns said. "This will hopefully 
get the message out to meth producers and users that there are 
serious penalties, and we will not turn a blind eye to it in Madison County."

Three people have been charged with aggravated participation in the 
manufacture of methamphetamine, a Class X felony. They are: Daniel A. 
Niles, 34, and Cynthia E. Leadlove, 37, both of 1817 Spruce St. in 
Granite City; and Shawn A. Thompson, 28, of 3325 Arlington Drive. 
Circuit Judge Charles Romani set bail for each at $100,000. If 
convicted, each faces six to 30 years in prison.

During the search, Kimberly A. Gestes, 33, of 3123 Arlington Drive 
arrived at the scene with open alcohol in her car, Burns said. During 
her arrest, Burns said deputies found a controlled substance in her 
purse. The nature of the controlled substance still is being 
determined. Gestes has been charged with possession of a controlled 
substance, and Romani set her bail at $15,000.

"I don't believe we have found any evidence to suggest she had a 
connection to the lab," Burns said. "She just happened to pull up as 
they were conducting the search."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman