Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Normal" life doesn't include meth labs

Thank you Steven Harkins for your good work on behalf of the citizens of Comal County and this Great State of Texas.

'This is my last chance at a normal life'


The owner of a Bulverde methamphetamine lab could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Colleen Ryan’s sentencing hearing began Wednesday in Comal County District Court after the 50-year-old pleaded guilty earlier this week to manufacturing meth at her rural home off Farm-to-Market Road 1863 in late 2007.

Her punishment could range anywhere from probation to 99 years, or life in prison, for the first-degree felony count of manufacturing between four and 500 grams of a controlled substance, according to the Comal County District Attorney’s Office.

Ryan took the stand to plea for leniency Wednesday from District Court Judge Gary Steel.

“I have no conscious desire to use drugs or associate with people that do,” said Ryan, who was also charged for possessing heroin at the time of her arrest. “This is my last chance at a normal life, and I hope I get to take it.”

According to testimony from Comal County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Leal, authorities gathered evidence from garbage outside Ryan’s home at 4520 Farm-to-Market Road 1863 for six months before a drug task force, made up of members of multiple law enforcement agencies, raided the compound on Dec. 7, 2007.

They discovered numerous ingredients for cooking meth — including large amounts of cough medicine and noxious chemicals, as well as small quantities of the drug.

She was taken into custody along with two other men found at the scene — Ricardo Riojas and Jeff Hardy — both of whom were arrested for lesser charges of drug possession.

Ryan said she used meth on and off since 1983. Assistant District Attorney Steven Harkins asked that her extensive criminal record be taken into account Wednesday, which includes previous convictions for burglary, credit card fraud and meth possession that date back to the late 1970s.

The hearing ended Wednesday with Ryan’s testimony. Harkins said the next phase of her punishment hearing, and likely her sentencing, is scheduled for early October.