Crime

Meth got him trouble the first time. Then he broke into a Boy Scout camp in Hancock County.

A Kiln man wasn't alone when he broke into a workshop and cafeteria at Salmen Boy Scout Reservation Camp in Perkinston.

Dameon Cuevas, a felon with a meth-related conviction, had an accomplice when he broke into the camp's workshop and cafeteria on Aug. 5, 2017, and stole items including 11 rifles, a pickup, tools and a tool box.

But Cuevas, 34, stood alone before a judge when he pleaded guilty this week on firearm and burglary charges, District Attorney Joel Smith said Thursday.

Cuevas' alleged accomplice, Jeremy Perkins, is on the run, Smith said.

Perkins, 31, also has a felony conviction, the Hancock County jail docket shows.

The camp is at Camp V-Bar, a nonprofit recreational and educational area near Morning Glory Lake, and is used by Boy Scouts and other groups.

Deputy sheriffs used surveillance cameras to identify the burglars, Smith said.

Tips led to the recovery of the weapons in a wooded area off Cameron Road.

Deputies recovered most of the stolen property, including the pickup.

Cuevas and Perkins confessed after their arrests in less than a week of the burglaries, previous reports show.

Cuevas pleaded guilty this week on two counts of burglary and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.

Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt sentenced Cuevas to 24 years in prison and suspended 16 years, leaving eight years to serve, followed by five years of probation, Smith said.

But Cuevas will be in prison longer than eight years. At the time of the burglaries, he was on probation for possession of precursor chemicals used to manufacture meth. His probation has been revoked. He is now serving a 15-year prison term.

Schmidt ordered his prison term to be served consecutively to the 15-year prison sentence.

Schmidt also fined Cuevas $2,000 and ordered restitution of $3,500. The restitution will reimburse the camp for the damages, Smith said.

Cuevas is tentatively scheduled for release from prison on the precursor conviction on Aug. 24, 2031, the state prison website shows. Then he will start serving time on the new convictions.

Perkins failed to appear for court on April 16 and is wanted on a warrant, Smith said.

Anyone with information on Perkins' whereabouts is asked to call the Hancock County Sheriff's Department at 228-466-6900.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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