Steuben County, N.Y. (WENY)-- 15 people have been arrested after a 5 month investigation into the unlawful purchase of precursors used in the production of methamphetamine.

     The investigation, conducted by the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, focused on the purchase of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. That's the active ingredient found in Claritin, Sudafed, and other similar products. Federal law limits the purchase of products containing these ingredients to no more than 3.6 grams per day, and no more than 9 grams in a 30-day period.  The investigation identified the 15 suspects who actively purchased and attempted to purchase these precursors from several regional pharmacies. After they purchased the ingredients, police say they either produced methamphetamine, or traded the product to methamphetamine cooks, a practice known as "smurfing."

     The following individuals were arrested as a result of this investigation: 35-year-old Michelle Croft from Lindley, 40-year-old Daniel Gillespie from Jasper, 51-year-old John Landsborough from Bath, 33-year-old William Landsborough from Bath, 50-year-old Joyce Lafave from Bath, 29-year-old Cody Shoemaker from Corning, 31-year-old Jeremy Comfort from Corning, 37-year-old Melissa Sherman from Lindley, 25-year-old Megan Preston from Painted Post, 20-year-old Kerstyn Buck from Tioga, P.A, 48-year-old Kristina Jolley from Painted Post, 26-year-old Patrick Rafferty from Addison, 37-year-old William Trenchard from Bath, 42-year-old Chastity Stark from Bath, and 34-year-old Jessica Austin from Bath.

     All of the suspects were charged with Falsifying Business Records, a Class "E" felony. It is alleged the defendants, while purchasing products containing pseudoephedrine and/or related products, caused false entries to be made in the respective pharmacy records, and falsely attested that they have not exceeded the federal purchasing guidelines.

     In addition to that charge, Cody Shoemaker has also been charged with Criminal Possession of Methamphetamine Manufacturing Materials.

     Each defendant was arraigned in local criminal court, pending Steuben County Grand Jury action.