Authorities have arrested two people after law enforcement agents found a suspended meth lab in the suspects’ Woodstock home.
Members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force executed a search warrant at a residence on Waterbrook Court in Woodstock around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to information provided by Joshua Price, a supervisory special agent with the state police.
Law enforcement agents searched the residence and seized items consistent with meth manufacturing, according to Price’s information.
Task-force members arrested Jeffrey Wetzel and charged him with manufacturing meth and conspiracy to make meth. Agents arrested Leah Moseley and charged her with conspiracy to make meth. Arresting officers took Wetzel and Moseley to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office processing center at the former county jail and a magistrate, appearing by video, granted the suspects’ release on personal recognizance bonds, Price said. Neither suspect was booked at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail nor did their charges appear in online records for Shenandoah County General District Court as of Friday afternoon.
The Woodstock Police Department and the RUSH Drug Task Force assisted the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.
The task force has not encountered a “one-pot/shake and bake” meth lab in a long period of time and only the second such operation reported this year, Price said.
The suspected home lab posed no threat to agents during the operation, Price said.
“We have specially trained methamphetamine laboratory agents that are trained with proper ... safety equipment, personal safety equipment that I had from the RUSH task force and our own task force that were on scene that were able to handle all of the chemical materials and items that they found that were consistent with the production (of meth),” Price said.
Shenandoah County Fire Marshal David Ferguson said Friday afternoon he issued an evacuation order for 221 Waterbrook Court, Woodstock.
“We have posted the residence as unsafe and not to be occupied as a result of a methamphetamine lab that we were made aware of by the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office,” Ferguson said.
Adjoining townhouses are separated by a fire-rated wall, Ferguson said.
The fire marshal said that two adults and two children usually live in the townhouse. Price said that no children were present in the residence during the execution of the search warrant.
The Fire Marshal’s Office became aware of the investigation the day after the search warrant was issued, Ferguson said. The normal procedure calls for law enforcement agents who execute a search warrant for a suspected meth lab to notify the Fire Marshal’s Office, Ferguson explained.
“However, that notification was not made to the Fire Marshal’s Office until the next day and we had to conduct our own investigation to ensure that there was evidence of a meth lab, and once we secured that then the order was given for the evacuation,” Ferguson said.
The Fire Marshal’s Office received verification from state police Friday morning that authorities found evidence of a suspected meth lab at the residence, Ferguson said.
Authorities rarely find meth labs, Price said. The task force is seeing an increase in drug in the region but in the form of crystal meth — not the “one-pot/shake and bake” variety, Price said. Authorities have seen a decrease in the number of home labs in the last few years because meth manufacturing requires pseudoephedrine and makers must go through a more strict process to buy the needed ingredient, he explained.
Crystal meth is coming into the area in parcels through the mail and by drug trafficking organizations, Price said.
The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force consists of agents assigned from sheriff’s offices in Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties, police departments in Front Royal, Strasburg and Winchester and from the Virginia State Police.