By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Quincy woman will serve at least six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony methamphetamine charges.
Patricia S. Ahern, 45, entered guilty pleas in two separate cases in front of Judge Scott Walden. She pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful participation in methamphetamine production, a Class 1 felony, in connection with a May 23 arrest. She also pleaded guilty to possession of less than 5 grams of methamphetamine, a Class 3 felony, stemming from an Oct. 25 incident.
Because Ahern was out on bond at the time of her second arrest, any jail sentences would have to be served consecutively. Although Ahern will serve at least six years in prison, she agreed to a sentencing cap of 13 years as part of her plea agreement. She could have received up to 40 years in prison. She was eligible for between four and 30 years on the manufacturing charge and between two and 10 years on the possession charge. All other charges in the cases were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.
Walden will sentence Ahern at 9:45 a.m. March 20.
She was first arrested in May along with Isaac E. Baker. Adams County First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said Ahern and Baker were caught producing methamphetamine in the basement of a residence in the 600 block of Lind on May 23. A neighbor reported smelling a strong, suspicious odor coming from the basement of the residence. The Quincy Police Department's Street Crimes Unit investigated the smell and talked to the people who lived at the house. They told police that no one should be in the basement. Police said they accessed the cellar from the outside, and when they opened the door, smoke rolled out of the basement, and Ahern and Baker came out.
Ahern told police that she thought the building was abandoned.
Her bond was originally set at $150,000 in the May case but was reduced to $2,000 on June 12. She posted $200 bond on June 13.
On Oct. 25, Ahern allowed officers to search her mother's home on Quincy's north side, where they found items associated with methamphetamine ingestion, Farha said. Her bond after that arrest was set at $100,000. She has been lodged at the Adams County Jail since her latest arrest.
Ahern was convicted in two meth-related arrests in 2005, and she received four years in the DOC on a meth-delivery charge and three years on a charge of unlawful possession of meth precursors.
Baker pleaded guilty for his role in the May incident in July. He was sentenced to eight years in the DOC after pleading guilty to unlawful participation in methamphetamine production.