Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dad gets 5 years for making meth in car

The 27-year-old from Salem was cooking the drug with his wife and two children in the vehicle.

Bradley Christley

Bradley Christley

A Salem man will serve about five years in prison for making methamphetamine while in a car with his wife and two children.

At a hearing Wednesday, Roanoke County Circuit Court Judge Robert "Pat" Doherty followed a prosecutor's recommendation and sentenced Bradley Christley to 60 months on charges of manufacturing meth and doing so in the presence of children.

Christley, 27, earlier this year pleaded no contest to the two charges after being arrested in September with his wife, Cassandra Christley. She made an identical plea agreement last week and will be sentenced in July.

After his release, Christley will be on probation for 18 years, during which time, the judge ruled, he is not allowed to be around children without supervision.

Doherty also denied Christley's request to be allowed to enter detention and diversion programs.

The couple were taken into custody Sept. 9 after they made a deal to supply a police informant with $100 worth of meth. They used the one-pot cooking method -- in which ingredients are placed in a bottle or jar -- and had the active container in their car when they were arrested in the parking lot of a grocery store on West Main Street.

Kevin Moore, a drug task force agent, testified Wednesday that with the one-pot method, the chemical reactions can be toxic and pressure can sometimes cause the bottle to explode.

Moore said agents moved in once the children and their mother left the vehicle. He said that during Bradley Christley's arrest, the cooking bottle fell out of the car and rolled across the parking lot.

The children, ages 4 and 5, had methamphetamine present in their systems, possibly from exposure during cooking.

Andrew Martin, a probation and parole officer, told Doherty that Cassandra Christley is pregnant and expects her third child in September. The couple were out on bail after their arrest, but their bond was revoked in January when they failed a drug test, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Matt Pollard.

Defense attorney Neil Horn argued that Bradley Christley had no serious prior criminal convictions and said his life had been shaped by the drug addictions of close relatives.

"His actions are continuing that family tradition," Pollard said.

Christley is also required to pay $115 in restitution to Salem police.

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