Judge rejects guilty plea in meth case


IRON MOUNTAIN – Two people involved in a July methamphetamine bust in Iron Mountain were in court this week, where one unsuccessfully tried to accept a plea deal and the other was sentenced to jail and probation.

Dickinson County Circuit Court Judge Richard Celello on Monday rejected the plea from 38-year-old Bryan Christopher Ray of Gwinn after Ray claimed under oath he didn’t know he was in a vehicle with methamphetamine.

Celello said he couldn’t accept a guilty plea from Ray without an admission of guilt. So the judge set the case for a pre-trial conference Nov. 6.

The deal offered by the Dickinson County Prosecutor’s Office called for Ray to plead guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a 10-year felony, in exchange for the dismissal of possession with intent to deliver or manufacture methamphetamine,

a 20-year felony; possession of burglar’s tools, a 10-year felony; and possession of a short-barreled shotgun, a five-year felony.


One of Ray’s three co-defendants, 21-year-old Paige Marie Wade of Rapid River, was sentenced Tuesday in Dickinson County District Court to six months in jail and a year of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor use of methamphetamine.

Wade will get credit for 65 days already served and will not have to serve the final 30 days if she instead successfully completes a residential substance abuse treatment program. However, she will spend another 60 days behind bars if she fails a drug test.

Wade understood she was lucky to have her felony charges reduced and will use the opportunity to get her life back on track, defense attorney Michael Scholke told the court.

Wade added she no longer associates with the wrong crowd and has been attending counseling sessions.

Judge Christopher Ninomiya was skeptical, pointing to a recent incident in which Wade reportedly admitted taking non-prescribed medications to a Marquette County deputy. He also noted her criminal record of seven convictions in two years.

Iron Mountain police approached a vehicle in a motel parking lot July 6 after receiving a tip of suspected drug activity, according to the initial IMPD press release.

Ray and Wade were in the vehicle, along with 28-year-old Shawn Marshall Brewer of St. Ignace and 19-year-old Dimon Markea Thompson of Gwinn.

Officers searched the vehicle and found components of a methamphetamine lab, methamphetamine, an uncapped hypodermic needle, a sawed-off shotgun, a handgun and burglary tools, according to the criminal complaint.

Thompson will be sentenced Oct. 24 in district court. Brewer has a circuit court pre-trial conference Nov. 6.

Nikki Younk can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 41, or nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.