A Seymour, Wis. woman is facing drug-related criminal charges for a September incident in the city of Ripon.
Christine Phillips, 47, has been charged with possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine (a class H felony) and possession of a controlled substance (a misdemeanor), according to a criminal complaint signed Monday, Jan. 3.
In May 2021, the Ripon Police Department began investigating Phillips and affiliates suspected of “smurfing,” which is the act of using multiple people to purchase large quantities of products containing ingredients for the production of methamphetamine, the complaint said.
Those ingredients were the drugs ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Through the course of the investigation, police learned that large amounts of a medication containing ephedrine were being purchased.
Federal and state regulations place limits on how much ephedrine and pseudoephedrine individuals can purchase as one gram of ephedrine has a theoretical yield of between 0.50 and 0.923 grams of methamphetamine, according to court records.
Police used a website that enables law enforcement and pharmacies to track the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine being purchased, as well as allows officers to search for an individual, court documents noted.
The website showed that — between Jan. 1, 2021 and Sept. 13, 2021 — Phillips had purchased more ephedrine-containing medication than is allowed under Wisconsin State Statute, the criminal complaint said.
Using the website, police were able to cross reference a list of Phillips’ associates to compile a list of 13 people, who had connections to one another and frequently purchased products that contained ingredients used to make meth, per court documents.
“On multiple occasions, members of this group were at the same stores at the same time making these purchases,” the criminal complaint said.
The individuals had connections to an address in Fond du Lac and a Ripon address, according to the public records.
Police examined the Ripon residence’s trash in May 2021, and found empty packaging for the ephedrine-containing medication, and mail suggesting Phillips lived at the address, per the complaint.
On Sept. 13, 2021, Phillips was pulled over near East Fond du Lac Street, near Douglas Street, for a defective license plate lamp.
During the traffic stop, Phillips allegedly told police she had moved to Seymour, and that she was headed to the hospital in Waupun because a friend’s husband had died.
According to the criminal complaint, the officer at the traffic stop recognized the friend’s names as subjects listed in connection to Phillips.
During contact with Phillips, the complaint says police told her they were aware she made a purchase of ephedrine that day, as well as purchases on Aug. 27, Sept. 2 and Sept. 10, and had bought “exactly the limit for a 30-day period in the state of Wisconsin.”
She allegedly told police she hadn’t taken ephedrine-containing products in over a month.
After giving Phillips a traffic citation, the officer turned around and asked if there were any drugs inside her vehicle, per court records.
She consented to the search of the vehicle, which allegedly found a pill container labeled as being for allergy relief and several sleeves of ephedrine-containing medication.
Phillips told police that the pill container carried “Krayatin,” but it was found to contain Kratom, which is a schedule 1 stimulant in the state of Wisconsin, the criminal complaint said.
She allegedly said she knew the ephedrine could be used to “make crystal meth,” but claimed she used to take it because she couldn’t get a particular inhaler.
According to the complaint, Phillips told police, “I take them; I don’t know anything about crystal meth, besides that I know it’s one of the key ingredients for it,” before admitting that others purchased ephedrine for her.
“Christine admitted that she would ask friends and family to go to various pharmacies either for her or with her to purchase ephedrine-containing products,” the criminal complaint said. “Christine admitted that they would buy it for her because she couldn’t buy it due to the purchases being blocked.”
When asked if she knew why the restrictions were in place, Phillips allegedly said, “Yeah, because of the making of crystal meth.”
According to the criminal complaint, over a 255-day span in 2021, she obtained 884 days’ worth of ephedrine, if taken as prescribed, which is “significantly over” the “standard set forth in Wisconsin statute.”
The 132.6 grams of ephedrine allegedly obtained has an estimated yield of 92.82 grams of methamphetamine, the criminal complaint added.
If convicted on all charges, Phillips faces up to $10,500 in fines and up to six years and 30 days in prison.
Her driving privileges also could be suspended for between six months and five years.