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Meth Lab (copy)

State police personnel remove hazardous materials after authorities raided a methamphetamine lab at 54 Orchard St. in Auburn Nov. 9.

AUBURN — A man pleaded guilty this week to his involvement in a meth lab bust in November — a first from among the 10 defendants in the case. 

On Thursday, Shaun Cronin, 40, became the last of the original eight defendents to be arraigned in Cayuga County Court. Cronin appeared in court in January, but his arraignment was adjourned until a court appointed interpreter was available to translate the proceedings to sign language.

Back on Jan. 24, seven of the codefendants arrested in connection with the Nov. 9 drug bust in Auburn were arraigned on multiple felonies and misdemeanors. The charges followed the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force executing a warrant at 54 Orchard St. and finding multiple people "actively engaged in the production of methamphetamine," the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office reported at the time. The raid was executed by the sheriff's office and Auburn Police Department.

A number of adults and three children were found at the scene. The New York State Police's Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team helped handle the dangerous substances involved in the making of the drugs at the home.

After being arraigned Thursday, Cronin entered a guilty plea. 

He faced charges of:

• Second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A felony

• Second-degree conspiracy, a class B felony

• Second-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a class C felony

• Criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, a class E felony

• Second-degree criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials, a class A misdemeanor

• Three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, class A misdemeanors

• Second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor

Senior Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grome Antonacci said that if Cronin would plead guilty to fifth-degree conspiracy, a class A misdemeanor — reduced from his charge of second-degree conspiracy, a class B felony — and second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing materials, a class A misdemeanor; his sentence offer would be no worse than shock probation.

"I'm prepared for no worse than shock probation," Judge Thomas Leone said. "It's not going to get any better than this today."

After Cronin conferenced privately with defense attorney Charles Thomas, and the interpreter, he pleaded guilty to both misdemeanors.

Cronin admitted that from about July to November he and others had conversations about making meth and traveled around the county to purchase ingredients. Cronin indicated he would purchase Sudafed when requested, knowing it would be used to make meth.

When pleading guilty to possessing manufacturing materials to make meth, Cronin said he possessed the medication to give to the others.

Cronin is due back for sentencing May 30.

Another defendant in the case, Thomas M. Hutton, 27, a son of previously arraigned defendant Heather Hutton, was also arraigned in court Thursday with an interpreter translating the proceedings to and from sign language. Hutton was arraigned on the same nine charges as Cronin.

Hutton and his brother, Jonas, 22, both of 8 Throop Ave., Auburn, were both arrested around 5:45 p.m. Jan. 28 and similarly charged in connection to the same 54 Orchard St. incident.

Leone said Thomas was initially arraigned in city court, but was being re-arraigned because a family member interpreted for him at that time. Thomas is due back in court April 11, the same date other codefendants are scheduled to appear.

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Staff writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or megan.ehrhart@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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