S.C. man facing meth charge

ELKINS – The investigation of a vehicle parked on the side of a road resulted in the arrest of a man on a methamphetamine charge early Tuesday morning, police said.

James Aaron Gossett, 38, of Cowpens, S.C., was arrested on one count of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory, a felony. Gossett was arraigned by Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler and was being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond as of press time.

According to the criminal complaint, West Virginia State Police officers came upon a black 1994 Ford Explorer pulled over into the left side of the roadway on U.S. Route 219 near Elkins, according to the criminal complaint. Cpl. M.S. Wetzel reported that the driver of the vehicle was inside the car and “slumped over against the window.”

Wetzel wrote that, after speaking with the driver, who was identified as Gossett, he “noticed a strong odor of chemicals emitting from inside the vehicle.” Wetzel obtained Gossett’s driver’s license and vehicle information and found that his license was suspended and his registration for the car was invalid, the complaint states.

After asking Gossett to exit the vehicle, Wetzel noticed that Gossett “would place his hands inside his pocket after being advised not to do so.” Wetzel observed “a white substance in plain view in Gossett’s left coat pocket, which later indicated for the presence of meth in a field test,” according to the complaint.

Officers 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.

All items were seized and Trooper First Class D.R. Wolford, a certified clandestine lab technician, arrived on scene, police said. Wolford claimed that all items were consistent with a shake and bake meth lab and took possession of the items, the complaint states.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.