A 24-year-old Elkins man remained incarcerated on a $50,000 cash-only bond Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly operating a mobile methamphetamine lab in his vehicle.
Jeffrey Scott Wilson was charged Wednesday with operating or attempting to operate a clandestine lab, a felony, following a traffic stop during which police found a slew of alleged methamphetamine precursors stored in various locations in the Jeep he was driving.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's Office, Patrolman B.D. Tice with the Elkins Police Department was patrolling the Beverly Five-lane at approximately 8:40 p.m. Wednesday when he saw Wilson - who was driving a white Jeep Cherokee with gold striping on the side - turn right out of the Walmart parking lot onto the Beverly Five-lane without using a turn signal. Tice also noticed that the driver's side tail light was out.
Tice subsequently initiated a traffic stop and upon asking for Wilson's registration and insurance, noticed two small propane tanks on the driver's side rear floor board; a plastic bag containing salt and coffee filters on the front passenger seat; and a bottle of "what appeared to be drain cleaner" next to the console on the driver's side, according to the complaint.
Tice asked Wilson if anything illegal was stored in his vehicle, and Wilson said no and gave the officer permission to search the Jeep.
Tice asked Wilson a second time "if he was positive there was nothing in his vehicle that (Tice) needed to be made aware of" to which Wilson reportedly replied, "No, there is nothing in there," according to the complaint.
Tice proceeded to search the vehicle, the complaint states, and allegedly found a bottle of drain cleaner, a box of Allegra-D 24-hour allergy and congestion medication, two propane fuel tanks, plastic tubing, empty Gatorade bottles, a red funnel, a white, unmarked bottle containing parts of a cold compress, coffee filters and salt.
"All the items listed are precursor components used to assemble a clandestine methamphetamine lab," Tice wrote in the complaint.
The officer transported Wilson to the Elkins Police Department for processing. After he removed Wilson from the car, however, Tice allegedly found two plastic containers - one containing meth and a second containing marijuana - in the back seat where Wilson had been sitting. A "white powdery substance" field-tested positive for meth, while "a green leafy substance" field-tested positive for marijuana, Tice noted in his report.
The report states that Wilson later told Tice that he'd been using the items in his car to operate a shake-and-bake meth lab; he also allegedly admitted that he had attempted to hide marijuana and meth in the back of the police cruiser.
Magistrate Rob Elbon set bond at $50,000 cash only; Wilson remained lodged in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.
The penalty for a conviction of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine lab is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of two to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $25,000 or both.