By Margie Wuebker
A Fort Recovery man has pleaded guilty to felony charges carrying the possibility of 16 years in prison and $32,500 in fines. Two of the counts in the five cases relate to the illegal assembly or possession of chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs, specifically methamphetamine.
Douglas Frericks, 30, 405 Benner Road, appeared Wednesday afternoon in Mercer County Common Pleas Court and entered pleas in regard to one pending case and a new round of indictments handed down last week.
In the pending case, he was found guilty of one illegal assembly charge stemming from the May 12 theft of anhydrous ammonia from Mercer Landmark near Coldwater. The state agreed to drop two other counts -- breaking and entering and a second illegal assembly charge. The matter had been set for an Oct. 6 trial.
Frericks also pleaded guilty to obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony stemming from a July 5 incident that occurred while he was incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail. The inmate reportedly became involved in a struggle with authorities resulting in a knee injury to corrections officer April Grunden.
He also was found guilty of another illegal assembly/possession charge and failure to comply with the signal or order of a police officer, both third-degree felonies. Those charges stem from a high-speed pursuit Sept. 8 through rural Indiana and into Ohio. The pursuit, initiated after a Berne, Ind., police officer spotted a tailight violation, ended near Pine and Burrville roads in rural Mercer County when the 1997 Chevy Camaro Frericks was driving could go no further. After running over tire-puncturing devices near Geneva, Ind., Frericks continued driving as the tire disintegrated, the rim collapsed and the brake line partially burned. A search of the car following his arrest reportedly yielded two anhydrous ammonia cylinders and 26 boxes of over-the-counter nasal decongestant, items used in the production of methamphetamine. Authorities also located assorted paraphernalia, including tubing apparently used to siphon anhydrous ammonia, a form of fertilizer used for agricultural purposes.
In exchange for pleas to those charges, the state dropped two additional cases involving theft of a vehicle, theft by deception and another count of failure to comply.
Frericks, seated beside defense attorney Chris Poppe, said little during the proceeding except to answer "Yes, your honor" or "No, your honor" to a litany of questions from Judge Jeffrey Ingraham.
He remains in jail on a $50,000 cash bond pending sentencing at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22.