AUBURN — Joseph Marcous, one of two cousins from Lewiston charged with operating methamphetamine labs in their apartments, has pleaded guilty to felony drug operation.

Marcous, 29, of 333 Lisbon St. was charged in an indictment by an Androscoggin County grand jury in May with two counts of unlawful operation of a methamphetamine lab, a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He was also charged with two counts of reckless conduct.

In Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday, as the court was preparing for trial, Marcous pleaded guilty to a single count of operating a meth laboratory and to one charge of reckless conduct. The remaining charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

He was sentenced to serve three years, with all but 74 days suspended, which he has already served, so he will be released. He will also serve two years probation.

Conditions of his sentence include no use of alcohol or drugs and to continue drug counseling.

According to court records, Marcous now lists his address on Main Street in Oxford.

Marcous’ cousin, Samuel Johnson, 29, of 18 Turgeon St., was charged with two felony counts of operating a meth lab and a misdemeanor violation of condition of release in connection with the same incident. His case is still pending.

A Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officer said in court papers that he responded Jan. 29 to a complaint of Johnson and Marcous “playing with chemicals” in a Sabattus Street apartment.

Special Agent Brian Beauparlant wrote in a report that he visited the apartment and interviewed Johnson’s roommate, who showed him the room where he said he observed Marcous holding a plastic bottle with a tube sticking out of the top.

Beauparlant wrote that description is consistent with a “gas generator” used in the making of meth. Johnson’s roommate also told the agent he saw Johnson wearing a mask while in the spare room.

A bag containing lithium batteries that had been cut open, a knife with white powder on the blade and a melted instant cold-pack wrapper containing ammonium nitrate were all items consistent with making meth. On a porch accessed from the room, the agent saw coffee filters coated with residue and a bottle of lighter fluid, also items used in meth manufacturing.

Matthew Cashman, supervisor of the MDEA Southern District Clandestine Lab Team, arrived and noted that Marcous had bought pseudoephedrine, a prime ingredient precursor drug needed to make meth, the night before.

Johnson told Beauparlant that he and Marcous had been in the spare room where Marcous was “trying to show him how to make Molotov cocktails.” Johnson denied they had been trying to make meth. He gave Beauparlant Marcous’ home address and said his cousin had left with a backpack containing some of the items from the spare room.

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