Guilty plea in drug lab, ecstasy delivery case

News Photo by Julie Riddle Scott Henning, seated, waits to plead guilty in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

ALPENA — Drugs and guns will land a Hubbard Lake man in prison after Scott Henning, 30, pleaded guilty to drug charges in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

Henning on Monday admitted he operated a drug lab and planned to distribute ecstasy, charges stemming from a 2020 drug bust in which police found psychedelic mushrooms growing in his bedroom.

A felony firearm charge to which Henning pleaded guilty carries a mandatory two-year sentence. Additional prison time — another 30 to 50 months, if Judge Ed Black follows the prosecution’s recommendations — will not start until after Henning serves two years for the gun crime.

The prosecution dismissed child pornography charges against Henning earlier this year.

Henning will return to court on Dec. 6 for sentencing.

In August 2020, the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team conducted a sting operation after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intercepted a package at JFK Airport in New York addressed to Henning, sent from the Netherlands. The package contained Xanax and a large quantity of ecstasy, hidden inside a bluetooth speaker, according to police reports.

Federal officials replaced the drugs with a device designed to alert police once the package was opened. The package was delivered to Henning’s home and kept under surveillance by HUNT detectives.

When they raided the home after the package was opened, police found not only the package but also an apparent drug lab in Henning’s bedroom, including hallucinogenic mushrooms growing in totes in the closet and petri dishes containing mushroom spores scattered throughout the room.

Police also seized two loaded semi-automatic pistols, 435 rounds of ammunition, and a single-shot pistol found in Henning’s dresser and under his mattress, according to police reports.

On social media chat logs found on the devices, Henning gave instructions about how to consume mushrooms, discussed prices for ecstasy and mushrooms, shared a video of himself weighing ecstasy, and encouraged a correspondent to drug the correspondent’s mother by slipping Xanax into her breakfast, according to police reports.

Henning was charged with 13 counts, including operating a drug lab, maintaining a drug house, delivering ecstasy, and felony possession of a firearm.

On Monday, Henning pleaded guilty to two drug charges and one weapons charge. The court dismissed the remainder, in accordance with his plea agreement.

Police also found more than 100 images of child pornography on a computer in a central room in the home, where Henning lived with his grandmother, police reports said.

Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski dropped ensuing child porn charges after Black remanded those charges to a lower court in April, saying the prosecution had not provided adequate evidence the photos belonged to Henning.

Henning worked as a custodian at Alpena High School, with a shift beginning near the end of the school day, from spring 2018 until the time of his arrest.


Also in court on Monday, Carl Ball, 43, of Alpena, admitted to a long-time addiction to opiates since the 1990s. He got clean but then relapsed, Ball told Black during sentencing for a charge of possession of methamphetamine, to which he pleaded guilty in September.

An additional charge of delivering meth was dismissed as part of Ball’s plea deal.

Police arrested Ball a year ago after a man who had been staying with him, Cameron Gardner, mentioned drugs hidden at Ball’s house during a phone call from the Alpena County Jail.

Gardner was sentenced to 13 months in prison for passing counterfeit $20 bills in Alpena in 2019 while he was staying with Ball. Informants told police Gardner was selling drugs in Alpena for months before his arrest, according to police reports.

“I’m not ashamed I’m an addict, but I’ll never forget I’m an addict,” said Ball, who said he learned to ask for help for his addiction during drug rehab.

Black sentenced Ball to two years’ probation, commending Ball for fighting addiction but saying Ball needed more than jail to stay away from drugs.

Black added 90 days’ incarceration to the sentence. Although the prosecution dismissed the delivery charge, Black was concerned by the amount of methamphetamine and money found in Ball’s house, he told Ball.


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