NVDAILY.COM | Local News

Posted May 16, 2012 | comments 36 Comments

Police say meth lab and bomb making going on at Strasburg home

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

An alleged King Street meth lab was shut down by town, state and federal officers Wednesday afternoon in Strasburg.

Investigators also came across traces of bomb-making materials during their search, Chief Tim Sutherly said Wednesday night.

Philip Eugene Chadwell, 22, of 710 E. King St., was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. More charges are pending, Sutherly said.

"He was arrested because they saw the evidence of the methamphetamine precursors at the site," he said.

Town police had gone to Chadwell's home as part of a Winchester Police Department investigation into larcenies they thought he may have information about, Sutherly said.

"When they got to the residence, they saw the precursors for meth," he said. "He readily admitted he was making meth."

Sutherly said a search warrant was obtained to search the home, and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force's methamphetamine response team, which included members from the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office, was called in. A special meth clean-up crew was also summoned to the site.

Police didn't just find the makings of a meth lab while in the home, Sutherly said.

"Also inside was evidence of bomb-making, and he admitted to making the meth and making the homemade bombs," he said. "We called in the state police bomb unit to ensure there was nothing dangerous there.

"There was only trace evidence of that at the scene. He admitted to making homemade bombs and exploding them. He was making some serious stuff. There's no indication that he had malicious intent. He was just curious to see if he could do it."

Throughout Wednesday afternoon, undercover task force officers, town officers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents were working outside the home. Police tape blocked off a small area around the run-down white two-story house.

Beneath a tent in the backyard, various chemicals, including drain cleaner and several containers of acetone, and Mason jars were laid out on a blue tarp. Hazardous materials disposal providers contracted out of Roanoke donned protected clothing, gloves and booties and carefully put the materials into metal barrels, which were then sealed.

Two young boys could be seen walking around the home later in the afternoon, with one coming out of the front door. A man could be heard telling a neighbor the search involved his stepson.

Sutherly said if there were children under a certain age living in the home at the time of the alleged meth manufacturing, Chadwell could face enhanced charges. The items were found in the suspect's bedroom, he said.

Sutherly said Chadwell hadn't been under drug task force investigation before Wednesday.

"He was totally under the radar," he said. "Apparently, he was just starting and trying to develop his meth business. According to him, he went to George Mason University studying chemistry."

Chadwell told investigators he'd made several batches, but hadn't produced any actual methamphetamine, Sutherly said.

"I'm just glad that the officers were alert to enough to know what they were looking at and acted appropriately," he said.

A red DEA sign was posted on the home's front door before officers left. It warned that a clandestine drug lab and/or hazardous chemicals had been seized from the home, and that some hazardous materials could still be on the site.

"Please exercise caution while on these premises," it stated.

Chadwell is being held in the Shenandoah County Jail on a $10,000 secured bond.





    kudos to the residence of Strasburg, the Strasburg Police Dept. The VA State Police, and the Winchester Police Dept.


      I am very happy that OUTSIDE law enforcers were involved. However, I live in this neighborhood. If the local police were concerned truly about the welfare of the local citizens, they would have alerted the family's located next door, accross street of the immediate and imminent danger. This was clearly a threat to the whole community. The families should have been alerted to keep safe their family members, children, family until the investigation was concluded. This truly upsets me...any parent would have the same feeling. How irresponsible. Communication is essential.

        Audrey - Maybe if you had any situational awareness and really were as concerned as you are alluding too, you would have figured something was amiss and could have informed the police. Guess you must have thought all the chemical smell for the past week(s) was the kids sniffing glue in the backyard. Normally when numerous vehicles with lights on and police and lab techs wandering around means something is going on. Maybe once you saw it you could have left on your own. Does someone need to tell you that? Are the police to report to you on the status of their investigation as they are doing it. You sound like a pompous @ss.


          In regards to your response of “my” posting; In retrospect review of your uncouth post and obviously being oblivious to not only my comments, but also the opinions of other residents/citizens of the town of Strasburg that encompass our community, I find your response amusing. However uneducated or ill mannered, we as citizens have a right to voice our concerns. I did not use offensive language or off color remarks. I am impressed by your maturity level. Your post suggests that I should have reported something is amiss. Did you not read the entire article, or do you have a medical condition that doesn’t allow you to process the article in its entirety? Let me give you a brief over view: the police were there regarding an entirely different situation. You, I, and other residents actually PAY the wages of the local police department to do their jobs. My college degree does not say law enforcer. The certifications/non degree requirement for the local law enforcers should have had my help. What was I thinking? How unthoughtful of me to trust and rely on PAID and TRAINED individuals. To serve and protect not only my family but the safety of the community. As for the aromatic environment that imamates though out not only my neighborhood, but the entire town. I should have used my trained skills to differentiate the chemical compounds and informed our local police department. Obviously you have NOT been around true women and men who serve not only our community but our country. They lay their lives on the line every day to serve us. Keep us safe, ensure our safety. Local police are yes, PAID, to protect not only individuals, but also ensure a safe community. This means keeping us informed of possible and volatile situations. You have heard of “Amber” alerts, possible terrorist threats? Evacuation Plans? We do have a town “planning commission”. Perhaps they should have implemented a plan for possible community evacuations and the possible impact of a bomb, and not the police. Your comments are obviously ill mannered and intend malice. Please I implore you to participate with the voices of the community, instead of education yourself with the influence of media/literature such as “COPS” and inappropriate adult films. Perhaps you would have made a more educational and concerning comments instead of typing out profanity.

            I don't see any profanity. Guess you are not familiar with punctuation marks. PS: I just farted and the POLICE wanted me to inform you of a possible gas leak in your area. If you want to be informed while an active investigation is taking place become the Chief. You said it all when you said you said you degree don't say law enforcement. You should have stopped there before you kept bloviating. Since you like the government to tell you what to do and when to do it, who told you what to eat for breakfast today?

    First of all, I have been studying pictures of meth manufacturers for years and I can tell based on my research that this man has clearly never manufactured any methamphetamine in his life....

    Second, and more importantly, the word is "narc," as in short for narcotics. Get it right people! Anyone who has seen a narc's business card would know this.

    Geoff, so you have been studying pictures of meth manufacturers or meth users for years? There is a difference.

    Maybe if it did not take 4 officers to pull over a person walking in Strasburg, they could face some of the bigger crimes like this.
    Even if they did not post a pic of him, everyone already knew he was white. It already sounds like the DEA is defending him.....could not of been a black man in this redneck town

      No matter what the positive story is about, someone always has to make a negative comment about the police. They have done an excellent job as always. Thank you Strasburg and other officers for taking care of this before it became much worse.

        You always have the whiners until something happens to them and they need the police. They will be the first to call about a dent on their door.

        Negative comment? I am sorry if you view my opinion as a negative comment. I am sure that you are not a minority in Shenandoah County. If you were you would completely understand my post. I am a professional and work very hard for everything I have, but when I come into Strasburg I am just a black woman who obviously is looking for trouble. The profiling gets old and if the cops would focus on the real criminals they might be able to stop more of them!

      Wow, your comment has nothing to do with this story! How in the world do you get race from this story that stated nothing about the suspect's race? DEA defending him???


    I think that the reporter in this story should have recieved all the facts before publishing this story! Does she know the family? The accused? NO! He is a chemistry major at Mason, and what do chemists do they experiment! And of what concern is it to anyone the condition of the house?? Poor reporting in my book!!

      Why would anyone have to know the family? What this man was doing is extremely dangerous; playing with unstable chemicals to make meth and bombs is risky whether you are a chemistry major or not! He wanted to see if he could make these chemical recipes, but he put all in his home and surrounding neighbors at risk with his curiosity.

    I don't normally comment but..I MUST on this one!! I am still laughing at the person who thinks "they" should be informed to keep the neighbors safe. Come on now...are you 10? Really???? Wow! They don't just walk up to all the people in the community and say, "Hey, we think this guy may be making meth, so please....be careful or better yet..move"!!! The Strasburg PD (and any other towns police department) put their lives on the line every single day. And anyone..who post anything different are FOOLS!! No, I am not nor have I ever been a police officer but..I have brain enough to know that the job is not just a normal every day job you do....you risk your life every single day to make dumb people who make totally ridiculous mistakes safe.

    I am glad the local police dept is not handling the investigation, since it is out of their hands I am sure the charges have just started, almost positive more charges will come. Everyone praises the local police department until it is their loved one that is harassed. That is the problem with these small towns. Oh yeah I know him....that is so and so boy. He is a good boy and he is just curious. The law is the law regardless of how good you know someone.

    I don't care if he is a GOOD KID, he could have really hurt someone then it still would have been the fault of the police. My husband is a police officer and you have no idea what they go through in a day. They have to be prepared for any situation never knowing what the outcome may be. Why would you notify the entire neighborhood to cause unnecessary panic, if you are smart you would know they do have protocol and they do not discuss open investigations! People only want to know what is going on because they are nosey.

    Good Job, Another criminal off the streets.

    wow where to begin with this..... I agree with the 4 cops to pull over one person while other trashy people LET THEIR DOGS BARK AT 5 AM INSTEAD, second it never ceases to amaze me how outside forces have to always help us, we never figure it out on our own, I'm sorry it'd be embarrassed if I were a strasburg cop and as far as being nosey in regards to stuff like this happening- I dont consider it nosey when I wanna see them ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING BESIDES PIC FAVORITES AND HARRASS people... but alas I suppose thats a bad thing so much for xmas coming early for me...

      People complain because of the number of police they already have, now you expect them to have a mobile meth response team so they don't need help from outside agencies, unreal. Just maybe if there is harassing going on, the ones being harassed should be, like this guy.

        Agreed Christina....people always amaze me. When that dog is barking at 5 am you have no idea what else could be going on like maybe a drunk driver being pulled over or someone being talked out of commiting suicide. You just have no idea. Yes the dog is annoying but how does this compare to someone possibly blowing up a house or a neighborhood. I think some of these conversations are nothing but to bash local law enforcement, I hope that you never need the help of any public service employee (police/firefighter) who is very much underpaid. I am just disgusted when people have no respect for what these men and women go through and the decisions they have to make.

    Respect must be earned. I have had dealings with both the fire deparment and the local law enforcement and I respect the fire department much more. The local law enforment seems to target certain people and once they have your name on their list they do not let up. Just a few examples: 1) my oldest son had his vehicle break down, several days later a deputy shows up at my house questioning me about my son's whereabouts and a "stolen" gas can from a lady who lived in the neighborhood where my son was broke down. She had no idea when the gas can came up missing but was told by a neighbor that my son's vehicle was parked down the street. The police office informed me that if the gas can was replaced, full of gas, then he could probably convince the lady to drop the charges. I informed him that when he could prove my son had done something wrong I would be happy to comply, he never returned to my home and I heard nothing more about it. 2) local police officers show up at my house to question a group of young men there working on a vehicle about an incident they had witnessed in town, I invited the police officers into my home to question the young men individually and privately, however, when I refused to leave during the questioning of anyone under 18 the officer began to "bully" me, he was invited to leave my home 3) an off duty state trooper took it upon herself to start following my son home about once a week for an unknown reason, she would follow him up our driveway, past the "No Trespassing" signs to curse and yell at him but never to ticket him. I reported her to the state police headquarters and have not seen her again. I could go on and on, my point being, once you become the "target" of the local law enforcement there is no stop to the harrassment you have to go through. If the police want respect then like the rest of us they need to earn it. I do understand that they have a dangerous job and put their lives on the line for others everyday but four police units stopping a group of students walking home from school and citing "gang activity" because they numbered more than 7 is not putting their live on the line it's just harrassment.

    I have never read such whining crap in all my life. Police are the number one responsibility of an elected government, so all you whining victims go to the council meetings and air your complainants. As to the lady with the gang banging kids you need to wake up the police do not create the juvenile hoodlums that roam the streets YOU DO. Oh yeah the lady who wants to know what the police are in investigating and wants to be informed of all possible dangers that are near her home, MOVE to the MOON, your expectations are ridiculous. If there was a danger to you or your neighborhood the police would have gotten you out of the way. Because if you had inhaled a substance that could have caused you harm you most surely would have hired an attorney and sued the police. So stop your whining and become part of the solution. Just a thought maybe commonsense will return to the BURG!!

    I love how everyone comments on how bad the police are...well just what do you do for a living? Would you go out there and put your life on the line/sacrifice time with your family and still barely get by financially? I think not so quit dogging them for something you are not willing to do yourself and know nothing about. How would you like it if someone who knew NOTHING about your job started commenting on how horrible you are at it? Furthermore, parentof2 next time you have an issue what if the police didn't show because they didn't want to "harass you" or the person commiting the crime against you. The police can only do so much when they have to work with ungrateful people who want to act a fool. I could go on and on....and obviously you all can too. Has anyone noticed that everytime there is an article that has ANYTHING to do with a cop there are 20+ comments dogging them? It's insane how judgemental and disgusting it has gotten on here. Next time you see one buy him a coffee, our local police do a hell of a job. I know not too many say it but THANK YOU!

    just saying... if this - "Chadwell told investigators he'd made several batches, but hadn't produced any actual methamphetamine, Sutherly said."
    is true wouldn't that mean he didn't have any real methamphetamine?

    @Madge3 It's because the town cops in the shenandoah valley harass the people. I've seen people pulled over on foot and over 4 officers there. I've seen kids getting ticketed for riding a skateboard down the road, i've seen cops make false claims to pull people over and lie in court about it. Every time i've been pulled over i've had a cop try to search me, when i refuse i am told i can't refuse, when i explain i can and they need a warrant, i have to wait for a drug dog every time. After the 40 minutes it takes for it to get there once again nothing happens, and i still get my ticket for "not having a plate on the front of my car" or some non moving violation.

    Things like that make the locals hate the cops around here. Cops are supposed to be peace officers, not paid harassers.

      I have been driving for about 44 yrs now and I can honestly say the only time I have been stopped by law enforcement was a tail light out. Of course, I have been in routine traffic checks. I personally feel that most Police officers (perhaps not all) only stop those they feel may need to be stopped. Also, I would guess the majority ( again not all) of those who feel they have been harrassed probably had an attitude or did something to bring it on!!!! I believe most (again not all) law enforcement officers work hard and deserve our respect.

    On a note completely unrelated to this article or any of the comments partaking in the flame war of "good cops vs bad cops, which do we have?", where did my previous post go? I posted a comment giving people the REAL story of this young man, as I've been a friend of his for roughly 5 years now, last night after reading this bogus article and today it's no longer there. No notification of my post violating any terms of use or anything. I wasn't disrespectful of anyone, I didn't use any words worse than anything you're able to read in the Bible, and yet my post was taken down. That was an hour of my life spent in the writing of the truth about this situation, and it was just trashed like I was ordering the rise of the Fourth Reich. NV Daily, you've lost my business for good. Please, do yourselves a favor and hire some journalists that know how to actually report the truth instead of what they were able to overhear standing 50 yards away behind police tape, that's then twisted to sell papers. At least the New York times isn't this corrupt. But since I don't have the time or energy to completely retype everything I wrote last night I'll paraphrase for those just joining us. Philip was not a bad kid, just a dumb kid who made dumb choices. Did he have the hardware from a previous attempt to make meth? Yes. Did he have all the chemicals? No. So he was not "just getting his business started" as the reporter claims. There was no business. Did he have materials to make bombs? Yes. But look around your house, and look at the chemicals labeled in the picture there. You probably have most of these in your own house. So, shame on you you terrorists. Philip never made it a secret that he made bombs, but he never made anything unstable (the almost degree in chemistry made sure of that) and he ALWAYS set them off out in the woods where no one would get hurt. It's like kids that made potato cannons growing up, just with a higher difficulty curve. So again, to keep this short, Philip was NOT a dangerous criminal. He was a good guy who got mixed up with a bad girl who talked him into doing some bad things that finally caught up to him. He never made any actual meth, as he was pretty much too lazy and unfocused to ever actually finish the hours long process.

    Other towns in the area would be so lucky to have police that do their job. Which would you prefer, police "harassing" the thugs, or good people afraid to leave their home. I am not afraid in Strasburg, from family that live elsewhere, they are not so fortunate. Whenever we have family outings, they want to come here, because they do not have to worry about going to the park or anywhere in town. Just last night they were at the street dance and had no worries about anything bad happening to them. I will just end by saying, thank you Strasburg PD.

    Other towns in the area would be so lucky to have police that do their job. Which would you prefer, police "harassing" the thugs, or good people afraid to leave their home. I am not afraid in Strasburg, from family that live elsewhere, they are not so fortunate. Whenever we have family outings, they want to come here, because they do not have to worry about going to the park or anywhere in town. Just last night they were at the street dance and had no worries about anything bad happening to them. I will just end by saying, thank you Strasburg PD.

    The beating Strasburg PD is taking in this thread in interesting. It seems that recently, any article with news and Strasburg PD generates a boat load of negative comments. In any police organization, the rank and file officers will perform in a manner consistent with what the administration will condone. Chief Sutherly, you're a good guy with decent officers on board. I hope you're looking at these threads and asking some serious questions about the relationships between the department and the people it serves.

    As for "parent", in item 1 it sounds like a valid investigation. If you didn't hear anything afterward, I guess it was found that your son didn't have anything to do with it. In item 2, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the police needs no one's "permission" to speak to anyone involving a criminal matter. In item 3, well, I got nothing for you on the state trooper thing.

    As for "Doom", act like a thug = get treated like a thug. If you don't want the police "harassing" you, don't give them a reason to be suspicious of your activities. Really?? Are you that important that you believe every officer comes on duty with the sole intent of making a traffic stop on innocent little you?

    My fingers are just warming up here, but I'll wait for the beating I'll take for this posting first.................

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137