Drug dealer with 31 priors sent back to prison

September 6, 2023

Drug dealer with 31 priors sent back to prison

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor


LUDINGTON — A 42-year-old man convicted of delivery/manufacture of methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 140 months (11.7 years) to 50 years and 40 months (3.3 years) to 15 years in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Anthony Werner Priese has 11 prior felonies and 20 prior misdemeanor convictions, said Mason County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Beth Hand.

Following a trial last December, “the jury came back pretty quickly with a verdict,” said Hand. There was a victim in the case who was hospitalized due to a “mixture of heroin and other drugs.”

Priese was arrested following a SSCENT (State, Sheriffs’, Chiefs’ Enforcement of Narcotics Team) raid at a trailer on Rasmussen Road where 6 grams of meth were found in a floor vent, said Hand.

“There was drug paraphernalia in almost every square foot of that house,” said the assistant prosecutor. “People were constantly coming and going. Everybody knew in this town that was where to get drugs. The defendant knew full well the scourge drug dealing and drug use has on this community.”

Defense attorney Horia Razvan Neagos said his client is “not a vicious drug dealer,” claiming that the drugs belonged to co-defendant Crandal Smith and not his client. Charges of delivery/manufacture of methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house against Smith were dismissed Oct. 20, 2022, according to court records.

Neagos acknowledged Priese’s extensive criminal record. “He’s obviously led a life that he’s not proud of.”

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Priese. “I’ve come to my bottom — my bottom has fallen out of my bottom.” He said that he overdosed on “fentanyl and a heroin mix.”

During his incarceration in the Mason County Jail, he reached out to the minister and church and has been studying scriptures. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at if this hadn’t happened.”

“Quite often people sitting in that chair, they tell me the same thing and then they’re sitting in that chair again,” said the judge.

Judge Sniegowski referred to Priese’s previous case in Oceana County when he was initially charged with delivery of heroin causing death following the Dec. 8, 2015 death of a 39-year-old Hart woman. 

“That’s the point when your life should have changed,” she said. “Instead, you get out and pick up another domestic violence charge and then you get some controlled substance charges and then that leads you to this. Meth is destroying communities and destroying lives.”

In the Oceana County case, Priese was sentenced to two to seven years in prison for a conviction of heroin delivery. Jami O’Leary was found deceased at approximately 6:41 a.m. Dec. 8, 2015, at 202 Dryden Street in the City of Hart, according to Oceana County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Bizon.

Priese was previously convicted in Oceana County of felonies of larceny in a building; forgery; and uttering and publishing and sentenced to two concurrent terms of 18 months to 14 years and a concurrent term of 18 months to four years.

Priese received credit for 630 days served in jail in his most recent criminal case. Assistant Prosecutor Hand said the trailer on Rasmussen Road where the drug dealing occurred has since been condemned and demolished.

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