UPDATE: Alleged meth lab arrestees go to court
The five arrested earlier this week all faced felony charges related to the alleged manufacture of methamphetamine in preliminary hearings today.
The cases resulted from the execution of a search warrant at 718 Margaret Street in Rhinelander.
Only three of the five are actually being charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Richard C. Nitschke, 48, and Andrea D. Healy, 47, the residents of the house where the defendants were arrested, are both being charged with manufacturing of methamphetamine-PTAC, as a party to a crime, delivery of methamphetamine-PTAC, as a party to a crime, possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine-PTAC, as a party to a crime, maintaining a drug trafficking place-PTAC, as a party to a crime, and disposal of waste from manufacture of methamphetamine-1st offense-PTAC, as a party to a crime. In addition, Healy will face a charge of knowingly solicit, direct, use another person to purchase pseudophedrine, and Nitschke will also be charged with misdemeanor bail jumping in relation to other active charges against the defendant.
Assistant district attorney Jodie Bednar-Clemens described the pair during the preliminary hearings as “certainly the most culpable,” even describing Healy as “a menace” with “a significant criminal history,” and saying that Nitschke was “clearly a threat to the community.”
Both were given $5,000 cash bonds by Judge Michael Bloom.
The other manufacturing charge (manufacturing of methamphetamine-PTAC, as a party to a crime) was against Andi L. Hansen, 26, of Lac Du Flambeau, who reportedly has been living with Healy and Nitschke. In addition, Hansen was charged with purchasing pseudophedrine for another with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and child neglect. According to police reports, Hansen’s four year old son was at the house during the arrest, and was allegedly exposed to methamphetamine smoke on multiple occasions.
Healy’s fourteen year-old son was also allegedly in the house at some point while adults were smoking methamphetamine.
Hansen was issued a $500 cash bond.
The other two defendants, Ronald A. Ross Jr., 28, of Woodruff, and Jute T. Handrick, 24, of Woodruff, were charged with purchasing pseudophedrine for another with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. In addition, Ross was charged felony bail jumping and misdemeanor bail jumping related to another case.
According to police reports, this alleged manufacturing operation has only been going on for approximately six months.
All cases were set over to Feb. 9, with the exception of Ross, whose case will go to court alongside his other charges on Jan. 20.