A Dandridge mother will serve more than 12 years behind bars for making and using meth late in her pregnancy, and giving birth to a drug-dependent baby.
A judge sentenced 27-year-old Lacey Weld to 151 months in prison. Prosecutors say they're sending a message that anyone who makes or uses meth while pregnant will face harsher consequences.
Last November, Weld pleaded guilty to a federal grand jury indictment that charged her with conspiracy to make meth.
Investigators said she was nine months pregnant at the time. They say they have video showing Weld was in a meth lab for 40 minutes and exposed her unborn child to an explosive environment and toxic fumes.
According to investigators, her baby was born severely drug dependent and suffered withdrawals for almost six weeks.
Prosecutors say they pushed for a stronger sentence because of the nature of the crime and the extreme harm she caused the child.
A Department of Children's Services case manager said of the 50 cases with drug-dependent babies she's investigated, this was by far the worst.
In a release, a U.S. attorney said:
"This nation has seen a tragic rise in the number of babies born addicted to drugs. Through this prosecution, the U.S. Attorney's Office sends a message that, should a child, born or unborn, be exposed to a substantial risk of harm through the manufacture of methamphetamine, we will pursue any available enhancements at sentencing."
Weld faces more than a dozen years in prison and five years of supervised probation.