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Fourth Northfield meth suspect pleads guilty, sentenced to year in jail

A 26-year-old woman was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail for helping sustain a Northfield meth lab.

Amanda Warner of Keene pleaded guilty to three related counts and, under a plea agreement with county prosecutors, was sentenced to three concurrent 12-month jail terms. She had already served 208 days as of yesterday’s hearing in Merrimack County Superior Court. Upon release, Warner will be placed on probation, and has agreed to seek out substance abuse treatment.

Warner was one of six people arrested during a December police raid on 6 Elm St., where she and three of the other suspects lived. The apartment complex faces an elementary school and public library.

Three other suspects have already pleaded guilty in the case, including Janell Dubreuil, 28, who also received a one-year jail sentence through a plea agreement. Joseph Cole, 27, was sentenced in June to 2½ to five years in prison. Jason Buckley, 37, was sentenced last month to five to 10 years.

Warner and Dubreuil have been described as minor players in the operation. Police officials said earlier this year that Warner admitted in interviews that she purchased ingredients for the drug, and that Buckley and another suspect, Brian Bateman, 27, manufactured it.

The charges against a sixth suspect, Anthony Ottati, have been dropped.

The police said initially that Warner and Bateman had a young son together, and that he was living in the apartment during the operation. No mention of that was made yesterday in court. The child was initially placed in state custody.

Bateman was scheduled for a plea and sentencing hearing last week, but it was called off at the last minute. He faces 16 charges – the most in the group – including manufacturing the drug and possessing it and its ingredients. Authorities have said he moved to New Hampshire this year from North Carolina, where he was wanted on a firearm charge and was a suspect in a meth-related house fire.

Neighbors at the complex first reported the activity to the police. Tenants described a chemical-like odor wafting from one of the units. Police officials noticed open windows, which was odd, they said, because of the frigid winter temperatures.

Officers found little actual methamphetamine when they raided the complex, but an expert at the DEA-led Clandestine Lab Task Force found that the drug had been cooked inside two of the units.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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