PARKERSBURG - A Parkersburg man was arrested Monday night in Vienna where he is accused of operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab at 700 21st St., Apt. B, the Parkersburg Violent Crime Narcotics Task Force said Tuesday.
About 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sgt. Scott Hughes of the Vienna Police Department received a call about a possible drug lab. Hughes contacted the occupants of the residence and upon entering the apartment smelled a strong chemical odor he associated with a methamphetamine lab, the task force said.
Hughes found James S. Smearman, 33, 96 Aqua Circle, Parkersburg, in the immediate area of the chemical odor. Smearman was taken into custody and the remaining occupants of the apartment were evacuated, which included a 2-year-old child.
James S. Smearman
Adjoining apartment occupants also were evacuated, the task force said. The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department assisted, the task force said.
Agents searched the residence and found two plastic bottles of what appeared to be actively manufacturing methamphetamine, the task force said..
These processes appeared to be utilizing the "one-bottle" or "shake-n-bake" method of manufacturing methamphetamine, the task force said. Narcotics agents also discovered opened lithium battery hulls, numerous empty boxes of pseudoephedrine, Coleman lantern fuel and other chemicals and components necessary for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, the task force said.
Two glass jars, which contained what appears to be finished methamphetamine, also were found, the task force said.
Smearman was arrested for operating a clandestine drug laboratory and exposing a child to methamphetamine production, both felonies. The penalties upon conviction are a possible two-10 years for operating a clandestine laboratory and 1-5 years for exposing a child to methamphetamine production.
Child Protective Services is investigating with the task force.
Smearman was taken to the Wood County Holding Facility and is awaiting arraignment. The investigation continues and additional charges may be lodged, the task force said.
The task force has seen an increase in the number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories and production, the agency said. It has processed three methamphetamine laboratories in the last three weeks.
The Parkersburg Violent Crime and Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Parkersburg Police Department, the Wood County Sheriff's Office, the Vienna Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.