published Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Woman gets 12-year prison term for making meth — while she's 9 months pregnant

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KNOXVILLE — A 27-year-old Dandridge, Tenn., woman was sentenced today to 151 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

Lacey Weld must serve 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release, according to a news release.

Weld used and manufactured meth while in her ninth month of pregnancy, and her baby was born severely drug-addicted and suffered from withdrawals for almost six weeks, the release states. Department of Children’s Services Case Manager Lynnie Vaughn testified that in the approximately 50 cases she has investigated involving drug-addicted babies, this was by far the worst.

Judge Thomas Varlan determined that the enhancement for creating a substantial risk of harm to a minor, which resulted in a six-offense level increase to Weld’s sentencing guidelines range, was justified. Video evidence from the investigation showed that Weld was in a meth lab for about 40 minutes, where she cooked and used meth.

“This nation has seen a tragic rise in the number of babies born addicted to drugs," U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said in the release. "Through this prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sends a message that, should a child, born or unborn, be exposed to a substantial risk of harm through the manufacture of methamphetamine, we will pursue any available enhancements at sentencing.”

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