More trouble for Clay County mom infamous for “bong baby” photo

A Clay County mom who’s no stranger to drug trouble connected to her young son was arrested again last month, this time for charges related to cooking methamphetamine in her home. Rachel Stieringer was arrested on charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a listed chemical used to manufacture meth and knowingly maintaining a dwelling for the manufacture of meth where a child resides, according to a report on News4Jax. Her troubles are far more serious this time around, as each of the three charges are felonies.

Maintaining a dwelling where a child resides to manufacture methamphetamine is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. It also has a five-year minimum mandatory sentence, should the state choose to pursue it. Possession of chemicals used to manufacture meth is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Conspiracy to manufacture meth is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Pictures of her son with his mouth on the top of a water bong commonly used to smoke marijuana made national news in 2011 and spread quickly on the internet. Detectives said the bong did not test positive for drugs, but Stieringer was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, the television station reported. She completed a four-month pre-trial intervention program and the charges were dropped, according to the television station. Stieringer also maintained custody of her son.

Now, she finds herself in similar trouble with drugs around her child, but staring at a possible minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison. She’s in jail while this Clay County Drugs Crimes Case resolves, being held on a $225,000 bond. If she were to be released before trial, she would need to post $22,500 – 10 percent of the total bond – for a bondsman to get her released. It’s very likely Stiernger showed a great deal of remorse following her arrest in 2011 – enough so that the state offered her a pretrial intervention program. And she successfully completed it to get the charge dropped. But she is likely to soon find out what often happens to people that don’t take advantage of a break given by a judge: they get hit twice as hard when they show up in court again.

Given that this Clay County Drug Crimes Case is her second drug-related charge involving her and her child, now 2, Stieringer is likely to face severe penalties this time around. Fumes emitted from cooking meth are toxic, which is why when a meth lab is found at a hotel or an apartment, police generally evacuate surrounding rooms as a precaution. Details have not been released on Stieringer’s role in the meth operation. If she’s a bit player in the scheme, that may be the only thing saving her. If not, expect the court to come down hard on her.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.