A Spokane Valley man pleaded guilty Wednesday to running a methamphetamine lab in his garage - next to his wife’s home day-care center.
Ronald L. Acre, 42, faces a two-year prison term for manufacturing the drug when he is sentenced in a couple of months.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped two felony charges against Acre: possession of the drug, and possession with intent to deliver.
Acre told Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly he was “very sorry for having put everyone through this ordeal.”
Police arrested Acre and his wife, Karen, last Dec. 21 after detectives learned about methamphetamine sales at the home.
Undercover agents had purchased the drug at least once from Acre in his home at 1205 N. Adams Road. The home doubled as Jack and Jill Day Care.
The day of the arrests, detectives found no adults in charge of five pre-school children being cared for at the day care.
Two teenage girls, including the Acres’ 15-year-old daughter, were watching the children while Karen Acre was away and Ronald Acre was asleep in a bedroom, with two loaded handguns nearby.
Karen Acre is charged with possession of methamphetamine and is expected to plead guilty in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, Ronald Acre’s attorney, Carl Maxey, presented statements from two psychologists who said the defendant suffers from serious back injuries and depression.
Maxey argued that Acre’s confused mental state made it difficult for him to realize what he was doing was wrong.
Acre also pleaded guilty to an unrelated assault against a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy. The five-month sentence for that crime will be served concurrently with the other sentence, said Maxey.
Jack and Jill Day Care was shut down in January by state investigators, who had reviewed complaints against the center before the arrests.