Meth lab trio plead innocent, get trial dates

Cary Ashby • May 1, 2013 at 10:12 PM

The trio of suspected co-defendants accused of having an active methamphetamine lab in a Norwalk apartment appeared in court Monday.

James J. Arthur II, 29, of New Haven, and Paul D. Prince, 33, of Mansfield, are scheduled to go to trial May 28 in Huron County Common Pleas Court. They are charged with one count each of manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of criminal tools.

If convicted of all three charges, they face as much as 23 years in prison. The manufacturing charge, a first-degree felony, comes with a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.

"These could be considered major drug offenders," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said about Arthur and Prince.

Also arraigned Monday was a third accomplice, Allen E. Mobberly, 32, of 37H Bouscay Ave. He is charged with endangering children and permitting drug abuse.

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light has said a boy complained of a "burning sensation" in his lungs after he played in the apartment. Authorities also identified Mobberly as the father of a boy who was there when the fire started and "the person who had control of the apartment where the methamphetamine was being manufactured."

The meth case is in connection with a March 29 fire at a Bouscay Avenue apartment. Officers arrived about 4:55 p.m. to use a search warrant. When police entered the apartment, they "found an active meth lab," authorities said.

Police have said Prince, when fleeing the upstairs bedroom, admitted to knocking over some of the meth-related byproducts, which started the fire, which was contained to the bedroom. The contents in the room were a total loss.

Arthur and Prince must post $100,000 bonds before being released from the Huron County Jail. Mobberly's bond is $20,000.

All three defendants are subject to random drug screens.

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