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Operating meth lab draws 10-year term

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A federal judge sentenced a 28-year-old man who admitted operating a makeshift methamphetamine laboratory in an Anne Arundel County home last year to serve 10 years in prison.

In U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Christopher Marshall, 28, of Stevensville also received five years of probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The problem of methamphetamine labs, considered by law enforcement to be prone to explosion and potentially toxic for years afterward, has grown significantly in Maryland in recent years. Though the number of labs busted last year dropped nationwide, and Maryland is not considered a hotbed of meth distribution, state officials said they saw a significant increase from 2004 to 2005 and unearthed two more labs this year.

According to the court papers in Marshall's case, a Drug Enforcement Administration confidential informant met Marshall and his co-defendant, Brian Kauffmann, 34, at Kauffmann's house in Severna Park to purchase meth May 19, 2005. At that time Kauffmann gave the informant a free sample of the drug, court papers say.

On August 22, 2005, DEA agents and Anne Arundel County police officers searched Kauffmann's house and seized drug paraphernalia, including scales, a triple-neck flask, tubing and matchbook striker plates.

They also seized other ingredients used to make methamphetamine.

Both men were arrested and charged in federal court. Kauffmann pleaded guilty to the same charge as Marshall and is awaiting sentencing.

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