ITHACA— A Carson City couple is facing major prison time after asking a former classmate to purchase a methamphetamine-related item at a local Kmart.
Amanda Bouwkamp, 29, and Branden Lee Carman, 25, were arraigned April 26 in 65B District Court in Ithaca. They are each charged with operating or maintaining a lab involving meth — a felony with a possible 20-year prison sentence.
They are scheduled for a preliminary examination Thursday in court.
According to Gratiot County Prosecutor Keith Kushion, the incident began at the Kmart store in Alma.
Bouwkamp allegedly approached a former school classmate in the store and asked him to purchase pseudoephedrine tablets, which are commonly used as cold or sinus medicine. The store did not have have the 12-hour brand that Bouwkamp wanted, so the classmate told her he would meet her and Carman at a nearby Walgreen’s store.
Instead, the classmate called the police.
The Alma Police Department responded and called in the Mid Michigan Area Group Narcotics Enforcement Team (MAGNET) for assistance. Officers searched the car Bouwkamp and Carman were riding in — a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix — and found numerous items used for manufacturing meth.
Carman was previously convicted of larceny more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 in Montcalm County. He was sentenced in August 2009 to up to five years in prison. He was paroled in January 2010.
“Not only did the individual who was approached did exactly the right thing, we would encourage anyone who is approached and asked to purchase pseudoephedrine to do the right thing and call the police, because this is becoming a huge problem,” Kushion said.
In July 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law enacting stricter regulations for selling and buying pseudoephedrine products.
According to Senate Bill 333 and House bill 4749, anyone who purchases pseudoephedrine must show an ID and have their name entered into a law enforcement database. Retailers enter the information electronically into the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), which is operated by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. The NPLEx system can send a “stop sale” alert to the retailer before the pseudoephedrine product is purchased, if necessary.
People could previously purchase no more than two packages or 48 tablets of pseudoephedrine product. Now, they can purchase no more than 3.6 grams in a single day and no more than 9 grams within 30 days.