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Meth Suspects Not in Jail, Reason Explained

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ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio -- Most of the nearly 60 suspected meth-maker conspirators arrested in 'Operation Meth Death' on Wednesday were released from jail within a few hours, without posting bond and while facing serious felonies.

Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas Sartini said they were released for several reasons.

"Many of them were first offenders, they had no prior criminal history.  The second thing is, for the most part, these were not crimes of violence," Sartini said.

Another big issue is jail overcrowding, he said.

Sartini said they only have 120 jail beds and they are already full.

"I'd say 40- to 50-percent of the people that were picked up yesterday were women and our jail only has capacity for less than five women, that's it," explained Sartini.

Judge Gary Yost said all the suspects released will be on a pre-trial probation, so to speak, which includes random drug tests.

“But by placing them on supervision the intent is to try and address this concern of protecting the community," Yost said.

Thursday afternoon Fox 8 News saw several of the suspects being released from jail.

"No, I'm not a meth user,” a woman said.

"Manufacturing methamphetamines? I don't even know how to make a cake," said a man.

Sartini said if the suspects do not show for their court date, arrest warrants will be issued for them. He said the people released all have strong ties to the area and are not likely to leave.

*Click here for more on 'Operation Death Meth'