Bond modification denied in meth lab case

ELKINS -Bond modification was denied Thursday for a South Carolina man charged with having a mobile meth lab in his car.

Randolph County Chief Magistrate Ben Shepler denied the bond modification request for James Aaron Gossett, 38, of Cowpens, S.C., who appeared with his attorney, Chris Cooper, in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Gossett was arrested on one count of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory, a felony. He is currently housed in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.

Cooper said he was only appointed to Gossett’s case 13 minutes before the hearing, but asked for modification of Gossett’s bond.

“He is a resident of South Carolina and does not have ties to the community,” Cooper said. “If you modify the terms of his bond so he can have corporate surety, he could make bond.”

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lori Haynes said she objected to bond modification.

“We have no information or criminal background check,” Haynes said. “We do not know for sure if he has a place to stay and feel the request is premature. The state objects to the modification request.”

Shepler denied the bond modification. Gossett’s preliminary hearing was continued to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Gossett was arrested March 11 after police found him slumped over in his truck, which was pulled over on the side of U. S. Route 219, according to the criminal complaint.

After police “noticed a strong odor of chemicals emitting from inside the vehicle,” they searched the vehicle and found items “used for operating or attempting to operate a clandestine lab,” including “cold packs, lithium batteries, Coleman fuel, coffee filters, and Draino crystal liquid,” as well as a backpack which contained “a plastic bottle with a liquid and metal shavings floating on top which is consistent to a shake and bake clandestine drug lab,” the complaint states.

Also Thursday:

A Randolph County woman who was arrested on drug charges last week waived her right to a preliminary hearing in Randolph County Magistrate Court Thursday.

Ashley Dawn Simms, 29, of Kerns, was arrested on March 12 on one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, a felony, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Simms’ case will now go forward to Randolph County Circuit Court.

According to the criminal complaint, police arrested her after a traffic stop led them to search her vehicle, where they found a wallet with approximately 25 loose Hydrocodone pills, as well as five more hydrocodone pills in a small cellophane wrapper, a white plastic container with four buprenorphrine pills, and two Alprazolam pills. Police also “located a Ziploc bag containing several plastic sandwich bags and $590” in cash, the complaint reads.

Chief Magistrate Ben Shepler modified Simms’ bond Thursday from $25,000 cash only to $25,000 cash or surety.