MARQUETTE, MI – U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced the sentencing on December 22, 2014, of Leanna Lynn Horton, 38-years-old, and Christopher Wayne Brow, 34-years-old, both of Marquette.
Horton and Brow had each pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in Marquette County from July 2013 to May 8, 2014. U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar sentenced Horton to 175 months in prison and Brow to 140 months.
Law Enforcement officials began investigating this conspiracy on October 26, 2013, after the Marquette Fire Department responded to a trailer fire in the Birch Grove Mobile Home Community in Marquette and found a methamphetamine lab. The trailer was a complete loss and eventually had to be towed from the trailer park.
Upon arrival, firefighters encountered Horton and Brow outside the trailer. Horton and Brow reported that they had been engaged in sexual activities and had accidentally knocked over a candle, which started the blaze. Brow sustained second degree burns in the fire. He was initially treated at Marquette General Hospital and later flown to the Burn Center at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Brow remained in the hospital until November 12, 2013. The total cost for his transportation and treatment exceeded $127,000, which remains unpaid.
The Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) investigation uncovered pharmacy records showing that Horton, Brow and their associates bought significant amounts of pseudoephedrine prior to the fire, which they used to make methamphetamine. These records further revealed that Brow had resumed purchasing pseudoephedrine in early December, fewer than four weeks after his release from the hospital.
While they were engaged in this conspiracy, Horton and Brow were on parole for previous methamphetamine related felony convictions. At the time of their arrest on May 8, 2014, in a trailer near Gwinn, UPSET detectives found another active methamphetamine lab.
Judge Edgar found that Horton and Brow’s actions created a substantial risk to human life because they cooked methamphetamine in a crowded trailer park and started a fire that threatened to spread to other trailers.
Methamphetamine production in Marquette County continues to be a significant problem. Officers from the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) and special agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and other state and local law enforcement agencies continue their efforts to reduce methamphetamine production.