Crime Watch

January 23, 2008

Man, 30, convicted of running meth lab

A 30-year-old Calvert County man was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in prison for operating a meth lab in an Anne Arundel County cemetery.

Justin M. Switzer of Lusby entered an Alford plea to two counts of possession of equipment to produce methamphetamine, meaning that he does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.

Switzer was sentenced by Judge William C. Mulford II to 15 years with two years suspended, followed by three years of supervised probation.

Prosecutors linked Switzer to the crime through fingerprints and bank account numbers on a notebook found at the scene.

On Jan. 25, 2007, Anne Arundel County police were called to Lakemont Memorial Gardens, 900 W. Central Ave. in Davidsonville, after a groundskeeper noticed large plastic containers in the woods, according to charging documents.

Officers found items that are "used to manufacture methamphetamine," including strainers, plastic funnels, pH paper, a breathing apparatus, goggles, electric burners, glass beakers, glass jars, an exhaust fan, an electric pill grinder, glass separatory funnels and a pocket-size pH meter.

The items, which were packed in duffel bags, were accompanied by iodine, dried red phosphorus, ephedrine separation and ephedrine binder -- all chemicals used to make methamphetamine, according to charging documents.

Investigators found a notepad in one of the duffel bags that listed checking and savings accounts at the Navy Federal Credit Union, which police later traced to Switzer. His fingerprints also were found at the scene.

Assistant State's Attorney Virginia Miles said that Switzer had two prior felony convictions.

According to the charging documents, Switzer has been arrested twice in Montgomery County on drug-related charges, including manufacturing methamphetamine; and at least once in Calvert County, where, during a traffic stop, "deputies recovered approximately $5,000 worth of `crystal meth.' "

According to court records, Switzer pleaded guilty in June in Montgomery County to attempted marijuana distribution. In 2003 in Calvert County, Switzer was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute. The records did not indicate what drug was involved in that conviction. His sentences in those cases are unclear.

Switzer chose not to address the court before sentencing yesterday, but his defense attorney, Peter Terech, told the judge, "My client's ultimate goal would be to get back into college."

Nicole Fuller

Pair found dead were shot

A man and woman found dead in an Annapolis apartment Friday had been shot, city police said yesterday.

It was the only new information released by the Police Department since identifying the victims that afternoon as Cecelia Brown, 51, of 29A Bens Drive and Charles Cully Jr., 29, of the first block of Marcs Court.

A friend checking on Brown in her apartment in the Bay Ridge Gardens complex discovered the pair with blood around them. Police said they have not identified a motive or suspects.

They are the first homicide victims in Annapolis this year, after a record of eight in 2007.

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