Meth possession in the presence of young children has landed a previously convicted meth and firearm offender a maximum likelihood of more than nine years imprisonment after he entered a plea on Friday.

Chris A. Studdard, 30, of Atchison, waived his right to hear evidence Friday, Feb. 14, before the Atchison County District Court and pleaded no contest to an amended complaint for possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance that authorities allege to be methamphetamine, and aggravated endangerment of a child.

The meth charge is punishable by 92 to 100 months confinement in state prison. The penalty for endangerment is 5 to 17 months in prison. Sentencing for Studdard will be 1 p.m. Monday, March 23, before the district court.

Studdard remains in the county jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond. His new conviction arises from a search warrant Atchison County Sheriff’s Office authorities executed on Dec. 4, 2019, in the wake of an investigation that centered on the allegations that involved the sale of methamphetamine at a location in the vicinity of Eighth and Kearney streets.

Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker shared the factual basis that led to Studdard’s arrest and subsequent conviction. Authorities determined the sales were made out of a closet where a 1-year-old toddler and a 4-year-old were present. The younger child crawled about atop the floor.

Authorities located a metal tin container with a substance inside that they identified as methamphetamine. Authorities also conducted a search of a vehicle and insides its door they discovered a larger presence of methamphetamine, Becker said.

The initial complaint against Studdard charged him with possession of the illegal substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, the clause was removed.

Felony charges that include possession of paraphernalia with intent to distribute, no drug tax stamp, one count aggravated endangerment of a child and a criminal in possession of a weapon were dismissed.

A report posted on a Kansas Criminal Justice Information System show Studdard’s previous convictions are a 2016 Atchison County felony conviction for criminal in possession of a weapon within five years of felony conviction and a 2015 Mitchell County felony conviction of drug possession.

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