POINT PLEASANT — A residence on Garfield Ave. has all the neighbors talking after officers were called to investigate the presence of a possible methamphetamine lab.
Cpt. Joe Veith, of the Point Pleasant Police Department, said his department received an anonymous tip about the residence, and an officer was sent to investigate on Saturday, March 31.
Veith said upon arrival, Officer Tyler DeWeese asked the resident if he could inspect the property to which the resident consented. Veith said at this time, DeWeese discovered alleged components of a methamphetamine lab though at the time of inspection it wasn’t an “active” lab.
Subjects were detained and questioned while evidence from the home was collected. Veith said Deputy Steven Greene with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, who is certified to process these types of scenes involving meth labs, also assisted.
Though no one has yet been arrested in the case, Veith said it is definitely not closed. He added evidence obtained at the scene has been sent to the West Virginia State Police’s Crime Lab for testing, and officers are attempting to collect other interviews. Veith said the case has its own special set of circumstances since the lab was not active and only components of a lab were found. There is also the question of determining who was operating the lab which is described as “shake and bake.”
Veith said “shake and bake” labs basically combine all the ingredients to make meth into a two-liter bottle or sports drink bottle (one with thicker plastic to withstand expansion), then the ingredients are shaken up inside the bottle, allowing the drug to be manufactured significantly faster (in one to two hours) than a traditional meth lab.
All the information officers uncover in this investigation is to be turned over to the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and will likely be presented to a grand jury, Veith said. Since there have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, no names of persons of interest are being released at this time.
However, in the meantime, the house has been sealed and is off limits to residents. Veith said Greene has filed the necessary paperwork with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources about the incident to notify DHHR and the homeowner about the discovery of items inside the residence which allegedly indicate a clandestine lab. The property owner is responsible to ensure the property remains unoccupied until such time as DHHR determines an appropriate cleaning/decontamination has occurred. The only other option for the property owner is to demolish the home. All of this is at the cost of the property owner.
The City of Point Pleasant doesn’t have an ordinance addressing these types of incidents so it follows state laws found in the West Virginia Code.