The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Cops, courts and fires

June 18, 2013

Man sentenced to 10 years for role in meth lab

ANDERSON — A man who helped supply a prominent Madison County meth-cooking ring was sentenced on Monday.

Michael Sheets, 51, of Anderson, received a 10-year sentence to the Department of Correction for his part in assisting a meth-cooking operation believed to be led by Timothy Woolum, 54, of Anderson. Six years of Sheets' sentence will be served in prison, Madison Circuit Court 6 Judge Dennis Carroll determined.

"There's a moral bankruptcy in making money off of other people's misery, and while that's not necessarily an aggravator, it speaks to your character," Carroll told Sheets at the hearing.

The charges stem from an incident on April 18, when police made a probationary visit to Woolum's home in the 2600 block of Morton Street. State Police meth team officers had been tipped off that Woolum and others were cooking meth in the home with children present.

Sheets, who answered the door when officers knocked, and two women, Tanisha Smith, 22, and Melinda Simms-Byers, 23, were all arrested and charged with helping to maintain the lab. Smith, whose 4-year-old was found in the home, was also charged with neglect of a dependent child.

Sgt. Nate Rainey of the ISP Pendleton Post Meth Team said the arrests were part of a three-month investigation, which has led to five different meth lab operations, 12 Anderson arrests and 42 charges. He said another meth lab was dismantled at the home on March 10. Woolum is apparently a deeply involved member of the meth ring, and Sheets, Smith and Simms-Byers were three of his associates.

Sheets identified Woolum as the main cook in the group at sentencing Monday, after weeks of refusing to talk.

"I didn't want to snitch on my friend, or who I thought was my friend," Sheets said at the hearing.

Woolum has a long history of dealing drugs, according to public records, and was on probation when he was arrested in April. His trial is set to begin July 8.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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