Four months in jail after meth lab plea

HOUGHTON – The woman described as the least culpable of four people in a Chassell methamphetamine lab was sentenced to four months in jail Monday.

Nichole Saatio, 26, appeared in Houghton County Circuit Court Monday.

In April, Saatio pleaded no contest to attempted delivery-manufacture of methamphetamine and ecstasy, a 20-year felony.

Charges of possession of methamphetamines and operating a meth lab, both 20-year felonies, were dismissed in the plea bargain. The agreement also stipulates Saatio will only serve county jail time.

Saatio declined to speak at her sentencing. But her attorney, Thomas Mercier, said Saatio is grateful to police for saving her life, he said. The hazardous chemicals involved could have led to a far worse outcome than jail time, he said.

“Saying this is a lab is to glorify what was going on,” he said.

Mercier asked Saatio be given the minimum sentence, which would allow her to be released Monday. Saatio has already made strides in her life, going on her own to drug rehab for five months, Mercier said.

“I would ask that the court be merciful today to her, as this person who has learned some of the hardest lessons in her life,” he said. “And I can’t think of a harder lesson than she has lost her children for a year, maybe the rest of her life.”

Saatio received credit for 69 days served.

Judge Charles Goodman read from a highly positive pre-sentence report, which said in part “there is no doubt that she will be successful if she continues with the positive outlook and positive commitment to remain drug-free.”

“That tells me, Miss Saatio, that you have in fact made a commitment to yourself and to your children,” he said. “But that commitment will be tested when you are released from jail, because there are those individuals who will do everything they can to drag you back into that lifestyle.”