Lancelot Lipe, Owner of Retirement-Community Meth Lab, Gets Prison Time

Categories: METH
Lancelot Lipe
A man who kept his wife in kids in the same house as his meth lab, in the retirement community of Sun City, was sentenced today to 7 1/2 years in prison.

Lancelot Lipe, now 30, claimed the meth lab in his garage wasn't even his, and sent an e-mail to New Times claiming he would sue for "liable" due to our coverage of the cops busting his meth lab. Looks like we were right.

See also:
Lancelot Lipe's Accused of Running a Meth Lab in His Sun City Home

A Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy was the first to respond to Lipe's house in April 2012, after people called about a fire burning there, but Lipe refused to let him in, so the deputy left, as a probable-cause statement cited the "availability of resources."

A week later multiple deputies showed up to Lipe's house to arrest him for allegedly slamming the door on the deputy's foot during the confrontation a week prior.

When MCSO detectives entered the house, they were "overwhelmed by a strong chemical odor . . . that immediately caused a burning sensation to both the eyes and throat[,] which caused detectives to immediately leave the area for health and safety reasons," according to court documents.

Lipe's meth lab was found in the garage, and a glass cooking vessel, jugs of acid, other chemicals for meth cookery, as well as meth pipes, other drug paraphernalia, and, of course, meth itself, was found around the house, according to the documents.

Noting that Lipe's three kids slept in a room that was "very close" to the meth kitchen, deputies questioned Lipe about the lab, and Lipe said it was his friend's. Lipe told detectives his friend owed him $2,500, so he let him play meth chef in his garage.

Lipe told investigators his meth-cooking friend had been over at 6 a.m. that day to work on meth-making, and the kids didn't leave the house with their mother until 10 a.m. Detectives believed it was possible the youngsters could have been exposed to meth-cooking fumes for four hours, just that day.

Lipe's wife, Brenda Lipe, came home with the kids as deputies dealt with the meth situation at the house.

More meth and a meth pipe were found in Brenda Lipe's truck, but she told police she hadn't used any drugs for a "very long time," according to the documents.

In a later interview with a child crimes detective, the Sheriff's Office discovered a "very long time" actually meant she had smoked meth earlier that day, according to the documents. She ended up pleading guilty to child abuse, and was sentenced at the beginning of the year to three months in jail and three years of probation.

Lancelot Lipe, who had several felony convictions on his record already, pleaded guilty several more felonies, including a dangerous-drug violation and child abuse.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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eric.nelson745 topcommenter

"Lipe, who had several felony convictions on his record already," ... isn't AZ a three-strikes state? If not, why not? 7.5 years for this crime is woefully insufficient compared with what he did to his kids. It goes without saying that he should have been sentenced to prison for much, much longer. One more thing. Look at this guy's face. The article said that he's 30? He appears to be much older. Yup, premature aging is one of the toxic effects of meth usage.


@eric.nelson745 No there should not be a three-striles law in AZ.  The law destroys the flexibility of the courts and the judge. Each criminal offender is different. Each set of crimes is different. The specific reason we have judges, juries, and lawyers  is that each situation deserves a fair analysis and punishment. A one-size-fits-all system of judgment destroys the flexibility.  There are always going to be cases like the stealing videos or pizza that are unjustly subjected to the three-strikes law. You may have an 18-year old who commits three crimes before he's mature enough to make quality decisions. You have 2-time convicted felons who may have been leading decent, upstanding lives being at the wrong place at the wrong time. You may have a sequence of lighter crimes such as burglary, breaking & entering, or stealing a car. Certainly committing these crimes are wrong and deserve punishment; however, is 25 years to life a reasonable punishment (in addition to whatever they were sentenced for the first 2 crimes)?  Plea bargains have become the overwhelming choice of prosecutors nowadays. The backlog of cases and high cost of a trial forces the state to use these. Defense attorneys (especially court-appointed ones) overwhelmingly talk their clients into these plea bargains, whether or not they suspect their client is guilty. However, whether a plea bargain is used or a full-blown trial is used, it still goes down on the client's record as a conviction. Offenders may not have agreed to the plea bargains knowing they may one day be subject to the three-strikes law.  The 8th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the use of "cruel or unjust punishment" by the state. Many would argue that certain clients' prosecution under the law violates the amendment. If just one case violates the amendment, the law is unconstitutional and should be overturned.  If a 2-time convicted felon is once again arrested, it's pretty much guaranteed that he will push for a trial. If he's guaranteed a 25-to-life sentence, what's the point of pleading guilty? It doesn't matter how many witnesses or how much physical evidence is available, the defendant will likely seek a trial. This adds more time and expense to an already overburdened court system.  It is expensive to keep a person in jail for life. Prisons are overflowing from the massive growth in their populations. Adding more prisoners (who may not even deserve to be there) to this system just makes matters worse.

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