AUBURN — A local man police said had the makings of a methamphetamine lab in the trunk of his girlfriend’s car is set to stand trial in November.

If James Ludlow, 41, of 46 East Bates St. is convicted of aggravated operation of a methamphetamine laboratory, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

An Androscoggin County grand jury indicted him on the Class A felony in September; he denied the charge at his arraignment in 8th District Court in Lewiston. His bail was set at $50,000 cash.

A court conference was held on the case this week to determine whether a plea was possible. After that meeting, a trial was scheduled for Nov. 10 in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Ludlow’s girlfriend, Kimberly Lothrop, 36, of 13 Tanglewood Drive, Lewiston, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a felony charge of attempted operation of a methamphetamine lab, but will be allowed to withdraw that plea in a year if she complies with all of the conditions of her agreement and terms of her release on personal recognizance.

If she commits no crimes for a year, she is expected to return to court to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of methamphetamine and pay a $400 fine. The felony charge would be dismissed.


If she fails to comply with the terms of the agreement before returning to court in October 2017, she could be sentenced on the felony charge to three years, with all of that sentence suspended, except for 120 days. After her release from jail, she would be placed on probation for two years.

For the next year, Lothrop must submit to search of her home and vehicle and to chemical testing at the request of law enforcement officers. She must undergo substance abuse evaluation and provide proof of that to the District Attorney’s Office in Androscoggin County by December, then complete counseling in a year. Lothrop was ordered to pay $521 in restitution to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. She may not possess pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in some cold medicines.

A second defendant linked to Ludlow, Daniel Kelly, 45, of 640 Pigeon Hill Road, Mechanic Falls, pleaded guilty in August to operating a meth lab. He was expected to be released from jail after serving two months of a 2½-year sentence.

A judge had imposed a 30-month sentence but suspended all of it, except for the 62 days Kelly had spent at Androscoggin County Jail.

Kelly had been present in the wooded area in Mechanic Falls where drug agents discovered meth-making materials in the trunk of Lothrop’s car. Kelly’s attorney had said he was merely an accomplice and hadn’t been directly involved in the making of meth. Kelly told agents he had bought pseudoephedrine for Ludlow.

Drug agents had followed Lothrop’s car, driven by Ludlow, into a wooded area in Mechanic Falls on June 17 after flagging the car as suspicious, according to prosecutors.


Agents had tracked purchases of pseudoephederine by Ludlow and Lothrop and concluded they may have been involved in meth manufacturing. Ludlow had a history of convictions in meth operations, according to court papers.

During Kelly’s two years of probation, he is barred from having contact with Lothrop and Ludlow. He may not have alcohol, illegal drugs or pseudoephedrine and can be searched at random for all three. He also was ordered to repay MDEA $400.

Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive stimulant. Preparing the drug is considered dangerous because the chemicals can create fumes and there is a risk of fire or explosion, according to authorities.

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