A U.S. Magistrate ordered a West Valley couple and their friend held in the Salt Lake County Jail pending their trials on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Magistrate Ronald Boyce denied Ernest Schickling, 42, and Kitty Schickling, 41, a chance to post bail because of their criminal history and outstanding warrants for their arrest in Eugene, Ore.Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman urged Boyce to detain the couple until trial, telling him that Oregon authorities intended to extradite the couple to Oregon for parole violations there if Utah authorities released them.
Kitty Schickling's attorney did not object to her being held in jail until trial, but Ernest Schickling's attorney did. The attorney, Robert Booker, told Boyce that Schickling has a serious heart condition that requires multiple medications at proper dosages and specific intervals.
"It is extremely important that we get the proper level of medical care for him," Booker said, adding that his client recently completed a drug rehabilitation program.
Mr. Schickling apparently failed to grasp the principles of the program, Boyce replied. Considering his extensive criminal record, his term in the Utah State Prison and outstanding warrants for his arrest "there is no conceivable way the court could make a finding other than he remains a danger to the community and a flight risk," Boyce ruled.
The couple has been charged with violating the federal controlled substance statute, an offense that carries a maximum 20 years sentence. The charges stem from a raid on a clandestine lab in South Jordan that netted enough chemicals to produce approximately $2 million worth of methamphetamine, federal officers said.
Law enforcement agencies launched the investigation after an informant said a man about to be released from a halfway house planned to set up a drug lab.
Ernest Schickling had recently been released from a halfway house on prior charges of making methamphetamine.
Boyce also denied bail to a third defendant, Richard Baker, 35.
Craig Sperry, Kitty Schickling's son, was released on bail. Boyce noted that Sperry had successfully completed a 1989 probation for a misdemeanor and that his common-law wife was pregnant with the couple's third child. Sperry was placed in the Community Treatment Center, a residential program.
Benny Huntsman, 21, has been charged with providing a location for the manufacture of methamphetamine, a charge which also carries a maximum 20-year sentence.
Two additional people were picked up by officers but not charged. "We just didn't have enough evidence to go for them," Schwendiman said. "They had small amounts (of illegal chemicals) in their possession."
Preliminary hearings for most of the defendants will be held this week.