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Couple sentenced to probation on meth charges

| September 20, 2006 12:00 AM

A Libby husband and wife arrested in May on charges of operating a methamphetamine lab at their home at 3502 U.S. Highway 2 S. were sentenced to three years probation Monday after pleading guilty to felony drug possession.

Ricky Lee Graves, 48, and Sabrina L. Graves, 49, were initially charged with two counts each of operating a clandestine drug lab and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia along with the felony possession charge. Those charges were dropped as part of their plea agreements. The agreements also recommended a three-year deferred imposition of sentence for both Ricky and Sabrina Graves.

According to court documents, local law enforcement officers received information that the Graveses had been purchasing large amounts of pseudoephedrine tablets and matches — two of the main ingredients in methamphetamine — as far back as December 2004. Starting in February 2006 and continuing through early May, detectives received several additional tips that they were buying more pseudoephedrine, matches and other items used in methamphetamine production at area businesses. An informant also provided a tip that the couple had methamphetamine for sale.

Officers executed a search warrant at the Graves residence on May 9, and according to an affidavit filed in district court found numerous items of drug paraphernalia — including glass pipes with visible methamphetamine residue — along with various chemicals used in methamphetamine production. In bags of garbage in a shed, officers found numerous items associated with methamphetamine production, including rags and paper towels stained with iodine and matchbook striker plates that had been scraped of phosphorous, the affidavit contended.