GALLIPOLIS — A West Virginian man was sentenced to three years in an Ohio prison after having been found guilty in a jury trial and sentenced last week.
Travis Brunty, 37, of Ashton, W.Va., was found guilty on charges of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the production of methamphetamine. Brunty was originally indicted of the crime in April 2015. Jury members found him guilty of the crime Feb. 11.
Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins oversaw the state’s side of the case while the defendant was advised by attorney Barbara Wallen.
Lt. Matt Champlin of the Gallipolis Police Department was called to testify for the state because of his expertise as a meth lab site neutralization technician. Champlin said police discovered a black duffel bag inside the residence where Brunty was staying at the time of the offense. Officers discovered a variety of chemicals in the bag, among them sulfuric acid, ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, camping fuel, coffee filters and plastic tubing. The lieutenant said these are precursor items for meth production.
Attorneys displayed evidence to the jury of multiple purchases of pseudoephedrine. Law enforcement can view such purchases through a database that logs drug purchases that could potentially lead to the production of meth.
Det. Chris Gruber, of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, told the jury he had evaluated the scene of the crime and packaged evidence. He interviewed Brunty and displayed his statement to the jury.
Adkins spoke of the nature of each of the items discovered in the bag in Brunty’s room. He argued that the nature of possessing each item was legal, however keeping all of the items together was suspicious and implied the fact that Brunty intended to create meth.
Brunty’s defense argued that the prosecution had failed to prove the items in the bag belonged to Brunty and that possessing each of the items was actually legal. Wallen argued police had not properly fingerprinted the duffel bag.
Adkins previously told the Tribune, “tThe way the law sits currently, it is beneficial for the state to help fight meth producers before they are even able to start cooking.” So long as an individual possesses multiple chemicals that aid in the meth making process, the could potentially be brought up on such charges as Brunty’s.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.