Couple charged with running drug lab in W.Va. home

September 08, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Police charged a Jefferson County couple Thursday with operating a laboratory in their house that officials said is similar to ones used to manufacture methamphetamine.

The owner of the house, Brian Christopher Elliott, 36, of 216 Mission Road, and his wife, Tara Lynne Elliott, 31, both were charged with operating a clandestine drug lab and possession with intent to deliver, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

After entering the house on Blue Ridge Mountain in Jefferson County, police observed a man who had a loaded pistol in a holster and discovered various materials, including cans of acetone, paint thinner, sulfuric acid and other materials,

Both of them were being held Thursday afternoon in the Eastern Regional Jail on $250,000 bond each, according to court records.


Two children belonging to the couple, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old, were turned over to state Department of Health and Human Resources officials and were expected to receive a medical check, said Chief Deputy Jesse Jones of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Methamphetamine is a drug that is snorted or smoked, and production of the drug typically is seen in the southern part of the state, Jones said.

The drug is made through a cooking process, and a hazardous materials unit had to be called to the home of the Elliotts because of the byproducts generated in the process, Jones said.

Chemicals and solvents found in the house included cans of acetone, paint thinner, coffee filters, sulfuric acid, salt, denatured alcohol, reaction vessels and other materials, according to a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

A federal Drug Enforcement Agency officer was at the scene, and said the lab was indicative of one used to manufacture methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

When police entered the house, Brian Elliott was in the living room, and Tara Elliott was in the couple's bedroom, according to the complaint.

Sheriff's department investigators have been investigating the operation since May, and the department has received anonymous phone calls and e-mails about traffic coming and going from the house, Jones said.

The charge of operating a clandestine drug lab carries a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 to $25,000, and the possession with intent charge carries a possible punishment of one to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000.

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