A Batesville area man pleaded guilty and will receive a maximum sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine in a homemade lab, a Level 4 felony, according to a Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office press release.

On Nov. 12, Jason Schuler pleaded guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine during August 2018. His charges stem from a joint investigation between the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section.

Court documents reveal that Schuler became the target of an investigation after police received a tip that he was possibly handling hazardous chemicals in a residence just outside Batesville city limits. ISP determined that Schuler had made multiple purchases of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in meth production.

Based on that information, officers conducted a nighttime raid of Schuler’s residence after receiving a search warrant issued by Ripley Superior Court Judge Jeff Sharp. Inside the residence, police discovered multiple chemical ingredients to make methamphetamine as well as multiple homemade labs and trace amounts of the drug. Fortunately, police were able to locate two innocent residents, who were living in the same building, and evacuated them before they sustained any injuries.

Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Marshall assisted in obtaining a second search warrant from the judge, this time for Schuler’s truck, which was discovered at the residence. More evidence of meth manufacturing and production were found in the vehicle.

Schuler pleaded guilty days before his jury trial after accepting a plea agreement to the maximum sentence offered by the prosecutor’s office. That agreement required Schuler to serve the 12-year maximum sentence, a combination of five years in prison and seven years on felony probation in which the defendant must undergo drug treatment and make full restitution to the other residents for damages resulting from his drug lab.

Prosecutor Ric Hertel was grateful for the diligent investigation, noting the collaboration between his office and two other law enforcement agencies. “The manufacture of methamphetamine poisons our community and in this case, we were able to hold this offender accountable to the fullest extent of the law and prevent any injuries,” he said. “There are fewer meth labs currently than in past years, but they still exist and pose a significant danger to those involved in the manufacture and others in the immediate area.”

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