Indictments were handed up against four area residents who were part of a meth lab operation that exploded this spring, with a fifth person involved in the operation dying.

Carrie Ballanger, 32, of Old Town; Don Dube, 47, of Glenburn; Jason Smith, 39 of Old Town; and Sue Smith, 38, of Old Town each were indicted for aggravated operation of a methampthamine laborary. The lab was inside an apartment at 178 Brunswick Street that was discovered Tuesday, April 25 after Old Town firefighters had been called for an explosion and small fire in the apartment; damage was confined to the apartment. Working with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Old Town Police, drug agents determined a meth lab had been operational inside the apartment, which was being rented by Jason Smith and Ballanger, and that the fire was a result of that lab. Reportedly, the “shake and bake” method of making methampethatmine – where Sudafed and other ingredients are mixed in a small container, then chemically mixed by using lithium – was used.

The aggravated charge for operating the lab was because of the heightened danger of its being located inside an apartment house. Aggravated unlawful operation of a methamphetamine lab is a Class A crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The body of a fifth person sought in connection with the lab – Jeffrey Miller, 50 – was later found at another house on Brunswick Street; it was believed at the time he was seriously burned in the fire and fled the scene. Miller had only recently been released from jail after serving a sentence for making methamphetamine before his death.

Other indictments handed up against local individuals were as follows.

Shayla Belote, 27, of Old Town, one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and violation of condition of release.

Scott Cote, 30, of Old Town, one count of failure to appear.

Jennifer Gallant, 23, of Old Town, one count of theft by unauthorized taking.

Suzanne Hulbert, 31, of Old Town, one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and misuse of public benefits instrument.

Cody Ouellette, 20, of Orono, one count each of criminal trespass and assault.


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