CLEARFIELD – Information from the public led to his arrest, and now, after a plea agreement, he will be in jail for the next four to eight years.
Steven Sunealitis, 46, of DuBois was scheduled to go to trial at the end of next week for several counts relating to the manufacture and possession of a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine.
Sunealitis was taken into custody in January after state police followed up on information from the public.
“This was a great, great case by (the police),” said Clearfield County District Attorney Wiliam A. Shaw Jr. after Friday afternoon’s sentencing.
Shaw said the state police’s clandestine lab team was called into Sunealitis’ home at the time, 535 South Ave., due to the danger that the ingredients used to produce methamphetamine pose. Shaw said those ingredients are “extremely volatile.”
What officers found inside Sunealitis’ home was 545 grams of what is called bi-layer liquid, the unfinished liquid used to make methamphetamine. Typically, the drug is found in powder form and gives the user a sense of euphoria or a “high” feeling.
In addition to the liquid, Sunealitis was reportedly in possession of three bags of finished methamphetamine product, weighing in at 2.5 grams.
In court, Sunealitis told Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman he found the “recipe” to make methamphetamine on the Internet. He also said that the liquid with which he was found would have made a small amount of powder.
“I was more or less conducting an experiment in my basement,” Sunealitis told the judge. “I couldn’t turn it into a powder.”
Shaw disagreed with Sunealitis’ statement and told the Court, “The (state police) chemists say he was one of the best producers they’ve ever seen.”
Before Sunealitis was sentenced, he asked to speak with the judge and Shaw off the record, saying he had something he wanted to tell both of them. Judge Ammerman explained that the statement could not be made off the record.
Shaw said the Sunealitis case was not the first time Clearfield County has seen a methamphetamine lab. “We’ve had methamphetamine labs in Clearfield County in the past, but we believe this is one of the biggest ones we’ve uncovered,” Shaw said.
Sunealitis was not yet selling the drug, but he was attempting to manufacture it, Shaw said.
Sunealitis was also sentenced to serve two years’ probation and pay fines and costs.
At the time of his arrest earlier this year, he was on parole for bad checks counts in Clearfield County. His record also includes a violation of the drug act in 1978 and a charge of criminal conspiracy to violate the drug act in Clinton County in 1999.