PARKERSBURG - A Parkersburg couple were arrested Monday afternoon on felony charges relating to the manufacture of methamphetamine in the Salvation Army Opportunity House on Fifth Street.
Around 3:30 p.m., agents of the Parkersburg Violent Crimes and Narcotics Task Force responded to 534 Fifth St., apartment 2, after receiving an anonymous phone tip alleging the production of methamphetamine in the residence, said department spokesman Sgt. Greg Collins.
A search warrant was obtained and executed after questioning of the residents, Travis Scott McCall, 19, and Juanita Marie Haught, 23, P.O. Box 2444, Collins said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
A Parkersburg couple were arrested Monday afternoon on felony charges relating to the manufacture of methamphetamine in the Salvation Army Opportunity House on Fifth Street.
Components used in the production of methamphetamine, including crystallized drain cleaner, a plastic "gas generator" with tubing, muriatic acid, cut lithium batteries with removed lithium strips, an empty Coleman fuel container, pieces of foil, numerous used coffee filters, cut straws with residue and a metal container with suspected methamphetamine in it, were found during the execution of the search warrant, Collins said.
McCall and Haught were taken to the Wood County Holding Center and arrested on felony charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, Collins said. They were arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court before Magistrate Robin Waters, who set bond at $75,000 each.
McCall and Haught did not post bond and were placed in the North Central Regional Jail.
Lt. Erik Henry with the Salvation Army Parkersburg Corps said McCall was a new residents to the Opportunity House, who had just transitioned into apartment 2 with his child from the organization's shelter after losing his job.
"Our caseworker was out sick that day and he, unbeknownst to anyone overseeing the house, sent his son away and invited his girlfriend over," Henry said about McCall. "Unfortunately, he fell back into old habits, as many people do when they are faced with a tough situation."
Henry said the drugs McCall and Haught were allegedly making were for personal use and not to be sold.
"They are people we try to help and some of them just struggle and when things get tough, they do things they are trying to get away from," Henry said. "It is very unfortunate."
The task force took three hours processing evidence and cleaning hazardous materials at the apartment, Collins said. This apartment building is known as the Opportunity House owned and operated by the Salvation Army, Collins said.
As has always been the case, agents received excellent cooperation from Salvation Army staff regarding this investigation and subsequent execution of the search warrant, Collins said.
"This is the first time that I can remember, in at least 10 years, that something like this has happened with the Opportunity House," Collins said. "We never had any issues with them before.
"They always cooperate with us and I know want to do anything to make sure their facility remains clean," he said.
Henry said one part of the Salvation Army's screening process for those living in the Opportunity House is urine drug screening.
"We do drug testing before they move in and random testing as they continue to stay with us and get their feet on the ground," Henry said. "Because (McCall) was a new resident, his follow-up testing had not occurred yet, but he did test clean upon moving in."
Henry said the purpose of the Opportunity House is to help people who have lost their way get their lives back together. Drug testing is one of the aspects to get them on the straight and narrow, he said.
The Parkersburg Violent Crime and Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Parkersburg Police Department, Wood County Sheriff's Office, Vienna Police Department and West Virginia State Police.