PARKERSBURG – Two people have been charged with drug offenses after a search of a suspected methamphetamine laboratory in Wood County, authorities said Tuesday.
The Wood County Sheriff’s Department and troopers from the West Virginia State Police Wood County Detachment collaborated in the search warrant and ongoing investigation of the residence at 45 Green Meadow Drive off Winding Road, said Trooper 1st Class C.S. Jackson with the Wood County detachment.
Michael P. Rhodes, 34, of Parkersburg, was arrested on charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, exposure of children to methamphetamine manufacturing, purchase or possession of substances used for manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, Jackson said.
Bradley L. Long, 23, of Sandyville, W.Va., was arrested on charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, purchase or possession of substances used for manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory.
Rhodes and Long were arraigned by Wood County Magistrate Robin Waters on Tuesday. Both were remanded to the North Central Regional Jail when Rhodes failed to post a $350,000 bond and Long failed to post a $250,000 bond.
An ongoing investigation by the Aggressive Crime Enforcement Task Force led the officers to suspect the property of containing a meth lab, said Chief Deputy Shawn Graham of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies and troopers encountered the smell of the meth lab before they entered the residence, said Jackson. During the search warrant execution, deputies and troopers recovered an active one pot “shake and bake” style of methamphetamine lab in the kitchen of the home, said Jackson.
The search also turned up a backpack containing precursors of meth creation and items used in the manufacturing process, including Coleman fuel, drain cleaner, lithium batteries, a battery cutter, and ice compresses, said Graham. A trash bag containing empty boxes of psuedoephedrine, cut lithium batteries, insides of batteries and used syringes was also discovered, said Graham.
Additional meth lab components were discovered in a child’s bedroom closet, said Graham. The closet contained mason jars, topped with coffee filters and filled with a clear, strong smelling liquid, he said.
The investigation revealed that the child’s bedroom and the kitchen were the primary staging areas for the meth lab in the home, said Jackson. Both rooms smelled strongly of meth lab odors when deputies and troopers entered the residence, he said.
The investigation at the residence began when Wood County Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted to statements taken from the two minor children of the suspects, said Graham. The children stated their father had been manufacturing methamphetamines inside their home, that they had witnessed the drug-making first-hand, and that the meth manufacturing process had “hurt their noses,” said Graham.
Additional investigation revealed that three suspects involved in the case had made psuedoephedrine purchases on Saturday and Monday, said Graham. Additional arrests in connection with this meth lab are expected in the near future, he said.