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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lacey Weld Sentenced To More Than 12 Years In Prison For Conspiracy To Manufacture Methamphetamine

Manufacturing and Smoking Methamphetamine while Pregnant Results in Enhanced Sentence

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Lacey Weld, 27, of Dandridge, Tenn., was sentenced today to serve 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release by the Honorable Thomas Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge. The sentence was the result of a guilty plea by Weld in November 2013 to a federal grand jury indictment charging her with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine (meth).

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

Judge 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 Guidelines range, was justified due to her using and manufacturing meth while pregnant. Video evidence from the investigation showed that Weld was in a meth lab for approximately 40 minutes, where she cooked and used meth. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Matt Thompson testified about the extremely hazardous conditions, including the toxic fumes and explosive environment, surrounding that meth lab.

“This nation has seen a tragic rise in the number of babies born addicted to drugs. 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,” said U.S. Attorney William C. Killian.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Weld was the result of an investigation conducted by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Fourth Judicial Drug Task Force, Dandridge Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, and Sevier County Sherriff’s Department. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Norris.

Updated March 18, 2015