By LISA M. REED
IRON MOUNTAIN - Three Dickinson County women are facing felony charges after authorities discovered a methamphetamine laboratory during a search of a Kingsford home on Tuesday.
The accused are Samantha Marie Matson, 21, of Vulcan, Nicole Janae Strutz, 30, of Iron Mountain and Jennifer Lee LaCosse, 26, of Norway.
The trio are charged with operating/maintaining a laboratory involving methamphetamine. LaCosse and Matson also face charges of manufacturing methamphetamine.
LaCosse and Strutz are also charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
All the charges are felony offenses punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Strutz is also charged as a habitual offender, fourth offense.
The three women remain lodged at the Dickinson County Correctional Center.
Preliminary examinations in all three cases are scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, at 10 a.m. in Dickinson County District Court.
Kingsford Public Safety Department officers and Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team participated in checking 501 Sterling Street in Kingsford at approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Kingsford Public Safety Department officers had received a tip that individuals in the home were making methamphetamine.
Kingsford Public Safety Department officers, assisted by officers from the Iron Mountain Police Department, responded to the residence and received permission from the homeowner to make entry.
Upon entering the residence, officers smelled a strong odor that they suspected to be vapors or fumes associated with manufacturing methamphetamine.
Authorities spent several hours removing components for a methamphetamine lab from the rental home.
A neighbor, who declined to have her name used, said police were at the house all day hauling items out of the house, and she believed that the house had a meth lab.
There were several individuals inside of the residence who were evacuated without incident.
In a joint statement released Wednesday by the Kingsford, Iron Mountain, Norway and Dickinson County Drug Investigation Unit (K.I.N.D.) Drug Enforcement Team and the Dickinson County Prosecutor's Office, it was announced the three women were arrested following an investigation into a portable methamphetamine lab at the Sterling Street address.
The release states one individual was transported to Dickinson County Memorial Hospital where she was evaluated and released. The Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) was called in to assist in the investigation and conduct the clean up.
During a search of the residence, officers discovered and seized a number of items and ingredients used in manufacturing methamphetamine, along with what is suspected to be the controlled substance, methamphetamine.
The investigation is being handled by the KIND drug enforcement team. Also assisting at the scene were the Kingsford Public Safety Fire Department, Kingsford Department of Public Works, the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department and the Iron Mountain Police Department.
Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.