Five Arrested in West Virginia for Producing Meth in Home Laboratory

laboratory_glassware.jpgRecently, five people were arrested in Charleston after police discovered a methamphetamine laboratory in a private home. The police investigated the home at 9:30 pm in the evening after receiving an anonymous tip. Although the homeowner, Shane Thaxton, told police that there were no illegal substances in the house, he gave written consent for the police to investigate. The search of the home and the surrounding buildings allegedly unearthed a methamphetamine laboratory. The laboratory contained ingredients such as residue, rubber gloves, coffee filters, and some small plastic bags containing an unknown white powder. Police ended up arresting Thaxton and four other adults living in the house, their ages ranging from mid-20s to their 30s. All were later taken to prison, where their bail was set at $25,000 apiece.

Addiction to methamphetamines is a problem that is nationwide. Methamphetamine is a crystallized powder referred to by various names, including “crystal meth,” “meth,” or “crank.” People take “meth” for a variety of reasons — for greater energy, self-esteem, and euphoria. However, meth use can also lead to a greater likelihood of anxiety, depression, and decreased appetite.

Meth is a big problem in West Virginia, both in terms of use and production. Most meth available in West Virginia is produced locally, with whatever is left over is shipped to border states or Mexico. Meth levels are reported to be higher in the western end of the state than the eastern end. Meth is frequently produced in home laboratories, where it can be done cheaply and privately. A telltale sign that meth is being produced in a private home is a noxious chemical odor emanating from it. Those who are caught producing or taking meth will be subject to strict federal drug laws. In that case, they would need a West Virginia criminal defense attorney to defend them and try to reduce their charges.

Many people who use and produce methamphetamines do so for reasons that are complicated and are not always generally understood. Nonetheless, even people guilty of a criminal act need an attorney to represent them. A criminal attorney can investigate whether police used all legal procedures to obtain evidence. For instance, in this case, the homeowner gave written consent for the police to enter and search. Assuming that the written consent was not forced, that is a valid way for police to search a home without a warrant. However, often permission to enter is not so clear cut. Ideally, police should have a warrant that states specifically what they must search for, and they must not go outside the bounds of the warrant. In reality, police may enter and search a residence without a warrant, which violates the homeowners’ Fourth Amendment rights. Even if police had a search warrant, it may be too vaguely worded, or the police might ignore its scope and search throughout the house when they should limit their search to the downstairs rooms. An experienced attorney would investigate this and argue that the evidence obtained in these searches was illegal and should not be admitted in court. We at the Wolfe Law Firm have years of experience with criminal defense. If you need an attorney to represent you in a criminal proceeding, give us a call.

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