- Last Updated on 04:20 PM 04/17/14
- BY Paula I. Bryant
A 25-year-old Nathalie man is in police custody suspected of operating a meth lab at his home on Acorn Road in Nathalie.
Local law enforcement officers made the discovery Wednesday evening while investigating a report of a breaking and entering at a nearby store.
Richard Dale Culley was arrested on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and felony child neglect and was transported to Blue Ridge Regional Jail where he is being held without bond, according to Halifax County Sheriff Fred S. Clark.
Discovery of the meth lab occurred as Investigator C. S. Hudson was investigating a breaking and entering call at Johnson’s Quik Shop on Acorn Road in Nathalie.
The sheriff said when Hudson arrived at the store, the manager told him the front door had been kicked in and a case of Newport cigarettes, some loose change and a Mountain Dew from the cooler had been stolen.
During the breaking and entering investigation, Hudson obtained a search warrant Wednesday for the Acorn Road residence where the meth lab was discovered.
According to the search warrant, when watching the video the officer observed a good size suspect walking up to the front door. The suspect was wearing all dark clothing including gloves and a batman mask.
“The suspect kicked and shoulder-drived the door and also pulled something from his waist and pryed on the door,” the search warrant stated.
Once the items were placed in a box, the suspect walked up the road.
Investigator Hudson said he followed the footprints in the neighbor’s yard until they started walking in the road. Then he picked up a trail of loose coins in the road. The coin trail stopped at the edge of Richard Culley’s driveway, the search warrant stated.
Hudson said when he walked to Culley’s door, he saw a fresh empty pack of Newport Green cigarettes laying beside the front porch.
Clark said it was when Investigators Hudson, J. M. Burton, Deputies S. Britton and T. B. Sargent and the Halifax Regional Narcotic Gang Task Force conducted a search of the single-wide trailer that they found suspected methamphetamine being produced on site.
A subsequent search warrant was obtained for the residence pertaining to the meth lab discovery, Clark said.
That search warrant has been sealed by the court.
The sheriff pointed out methamphetamine is “a extremely serious and dangerous drug that slowly is making its way into rural areas.”
“Team members collected evidence pertinent to sustain prosecution and take appropriate measures to render the incident secure from all chemical hazards,” Clark said.
Special Agent R. B. George obtained warrants for Culley charging methamphetamine manufacturing and two separate warrants for felony child neglect, the sheriff said, noting two young children occupied the residence along with Culley and 24-year-old Tammy Ann Hudson.
Investigator Hudson also charged Culley with one count of breaking and entering Johnson’s Quik Shop, one count of grand larceny and one count of vandalism, Clark said.
Halifax County Department of Social Services workers were notified of the environment to which the children living in the residence had been exposed, the sheriff said.
Also arrested Wednesday afternoon at the scene and charged with obstruction of justice by threat with no force was Tammy Ann Hudson.
The sheriff pointed out methamphetamine is “a very serious and dangerous drug that slowly is making its way into rural areas.”
Virginia State Police Special Agent George said many risks are associated with the production of methamphetamine calling it “an epidemic that affects all members of society.”
The process associated with meth production involves the mixing of various chemicals that present inhalation hazards, chemical burns and risks of explosion, he added.
Clark and George said law enforcement agencies are actively working to combat the war on all illegal drugs in the county and expressed appreciate to special agents of the Clandestine Lab Response Team for their assistance in Wednesday’s investigation.
According to Clark, Wednesday’s arrest and meth lab discovery is the second in Halifax County since the turn of the century when authorities uncovered a meth lab on Mountain Road in Halifax.