Two arrested at suspected meth lab

A pair of Northwest Regional Drug Task Force agents wearing protective suits mark containers outside this home at 8275 Orkney Grade in Mount Jackson where a search warrant was served and a suspected active meth lab was seized Wednesday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily
This is the residence at 8275 Orkney Grade in Mount Jackson where the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force executed a search warrant Wednesday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily
A Drug Enforcement Agency agent and a pair of Northwest Regional Drug Task Force agents process the scene of a suspected meth lab outside 8274 Orkney Grade in Mount Jackson on Wednesday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily
An agent with the Northwest Regional Drug Task force is outfitted and taped into this protective suit as he prepares to process the scene of a suspected meth lab. Rich Cooley/Daily

Shenandoah County authorities arrested two people at a suspected methamphetamine laboratory Wednesday afternoon near Mount Jackson.

Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said members of the drug task force executed a search warrant at the suspects’ residence at 8275 Orkney Grade at 2:17 p.m.

“What they found was a working meth lab at that location,” Proctor said. “At this point, everything has been rendered safe.”

Proctor said deputies and investigators assigned to the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force arrested a man and a woman. They were identified as Joseph Malachi Michael, 36, and Julie Mae Giftt, 30. Both were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

Proctor said Michael was being held without bond in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. Giftt was being held in the jail on a secure bond, Proctor said.

Proctor said authorities were still cleaning up the structure and collecting evidence to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Proctor said the two suspects were arrested without incident.

The search warrant was executed after authorities learned that methamphetamine was being manufactured in the single-family house.

The chemicals used to make methamphetamine pose a variety of health risks to those on premises and nearby areas. They include dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination and lung problems.

The volatility of some meth chemicals also pose a risk of fire and explosion if handled or mixed improperly.

Proctor said a chemical disposal and clean-up team was on site.

“They help with securing evidence and making the area safe when it comes to meth labs,” Proctor said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or

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