The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 13, 2013

Joplin man enters guilty plea in deal in meth-lab case

A Joplin man pleaded guilty Friday to felony child endangerment and drug possession charges in a case involving an alleged methamphetamine lab found inside a home where three children were living.

Justin L. Cooper, 30, pleaded guilty to the charges in Jasper County Circuit Court in a plea deal with the prosecutor’s office that  would drop a third count of manufacturing a controlled substance and limit the prison terms for the defendant to three years each. The terms would be allowed to run concurrently.

Circuit Judge David Mouton delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea bargain and ordered a sentencing-assessment report on the defendant. Cooper’s sentencing hearing was set for Sept. 13.

The charges stem from a police officer’s attempt in May 2012 to verify the registration of a convicted sex offender who listed 1104 S. Roosevelt Ave. as his address. Cooper, who was living at the address with the registered offender and three children, consented to a walk-through search of the residence.

During the search, several alleged components of a meth lab were observed and several bags of meth discovered, and the Jasper County Drug Task Force was called to the scene.

A probable-cause affidavit alleges that Cooper admitted that he had been allowing a friend to cook meth at the back of his house.

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