By Rachel Petersen
A McAlester man was recently sentenced to prison for manufacturing methamphetamine in an apartment across the street from the police station.
Mitchell Ray Stripe, 33, was charged in February in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of endeavoring to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance (methamphetamine).
Stripe pleaded guilty to the charge on April 29 and was sentenced to 20 years, with the last 10 years suspended. He was also fined $52,100 (with $49,000 suspended).
Stripe was charged in the case alongside Jessica Ann Smith, 28; Thomas Logan McElroy, 23, and Vivian Corean Redd, 23, all of McAlester.
According to court records, McAlester police received a report in February of a chemical smell in an apartment at the McAlester Plaza Apartments, which are right across the street from the McAlester police station. The person “reported they could smell someone cooking meth,” a police affidavit states.
When police arrived on the scene and searched the apartment, they found two people — Smith and McElroy — and numerous items associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, the affidavit states.
According to the affidavit, police then handcuffed Smith and McElroy. Not too long later, according to the affidavit, “a white male and a black female walked around the corner from the elevator. The white male was carrying some plastic grocery bags. ... Thomas (McElroy) looked at the white male and black female and yelled to them ‘guy this is not a good time you might want to come back later.’ The white male and black female (later identified as Stripe and Redd) turned around and went around the corner.”
Police then stopped the pair and looked in the grocery bags and found numerous items associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, the affidavit states.
Stripe, Smith, McElroy and Redd were all charged with one felony count of endeavoring to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance (methamphetamine).
On Feb. 28, the charge against Redd was dismissed. “The evidence was that she had no knowledge of the manufacturing endeavorment,” said District 18 Assistant District Attorney Chuck Sullivan.
Smith and McElroy are both due back in court May 22. If convicted, they are each facing up to life in prison. Smith remains in custody at the Pittsburg County jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond. McElroy is being held in lieu of a $50,000 bond. Both were unavailable for comment at presstime.
Stripe is also in custody at the Pittsburg County jail. He is waiting to be transferred to the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. In seeking comment, Stripe’s attorney, Joe Layden, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Contact Rachel Petersen at email@example.com.
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