Five arrested following drug investigation

PARKERSBURG -Law enforcement officials arrested five people late Thursday night on drug charges, stemming from an operation near Gihon Road.

Parkersburg police Sgt. Greg Collins said shortly before midnight, investigators with the Parkersburg Police Department, Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force and the West Virginia State Police arrested five people on meth charge.

The trailer’s owner, Ronald McMillan, 59, was arrested, along with 43-year-old David Riel, 33-year-old Crystal Campbell, all from Parkersburg, and Amber Husk, a 29-year-old Harrisville resident.

McMillan was charged with the misdemeanor charge of maintaining a dwelling where people reportedly were using controlled substances. Riel, Husk and Campbell were charged with felony operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab. All were processed and placed in the Wood County Holding Center to await arraignment.

“Investigators approached the trailer, allegedly detecting a strong chemical smell,” Collins stated in a release. “Contact was made with the homeowner, Ronald McMillan, who granted officers permission to enter the home. Once inside, officers allegedly continued to detect a chemical smell and soon located numerous items used in the production of methamphetamine, as well as an active ‘shake and bake’ meth lab.”

The house was secured while a search warrant was obtained.

Collins said as officers were securing the residence for the pending search warrant, John Alan Estep rode a bicycle up to the front steps of the home.

Officers interviewed Estep and conducted a search of his person, allegedly revealing an amount of Coleman fuel and a package of hypodermic needles. The 27-year-old Parkersburg man was taken into custody on the felony charge of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab, Collins said.

Estep was also processed and placed in the Wood County Holding Center to await arraignment.

Investigators spent several hours processing the meth lab and the home for evidence.

Collins said the joint operation was conducted at 49 Lantana Lane off Gihon Road in south Parkersburg as part of the continuing joint investigation into the manufacturing and/or distribution of bath salts and methamphetamine.

Collins said Riel and Husk were the focus of a joint operation by the Parkersburg Police Department and Wood County Sheriff’s Office on June 21. Officers were investigating the possible manufacturing of methamphetamine in the area of Ohio River Road when they encountered the pair in a heavily wooded area on the bank of the Ohio River, north of the boat ramp. Rick Brock was arrested on felony meth charges; however, Riel and Husk were not charged.