Two Catlett residents have been charged after the discovery of a methamphetamine lab in Nuevo Inn just outside Warrenton.
On March 23, a search warrant was issued at the Nuevo Inn, room 228, according to public court files. The two suspects were arrested on April 4 for manufacturing methamphetamine. One suspect had a plane ticket for Arizona.
Sara Ashlee Dove, a babysitter, took her boyfriend Scott Douglas Mehlhaff, II, to the emergency room, which started the investigation.
"The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office had information that they had received from emergency services," said Tom Murphy of Virginia State Police Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force. "[He was admitted] because of burns on his hands. He told the staff it was because of a meth lab."
Detectives then searched the hotel room and discovered an exploded "active meth cook."
"There they found the room that this gentlemen was staying in," said Murphy. "It had a strong chemical odor. There had been an explosion or a small fire within the room."
Specific items were discovered which are associated with the manufacturing of the drug. Detectives found drain cleaning solution, lithium batteries, muriatic acid, cold packs, petroleum fuel and pseudoephedrine boxes, according to court documents.
Also found in the hotel room were personal identifying items. The staff at Nuevo Inn confirmed who was staying in room 228.
Sharon Dickinson, general manager at the Nuevo Inn, said the rooms were in a detached building which was under renovation due to a fire that occurred on December 12. The employees of Capital Construction of Weathersfield, Conn. were allowed to use the rooms, and Mehlhaff had been hired two days prior to the bust, according to Dickinson.
"They weren't even paying guests here," Dickinson said.
She noted that the room has been inspected and will go through proper remediation. The arrest may have come just in the nick of time.
"Scott was arrested in Fairfax County. He had a plane ticket for Arizona. It was our belief that he was about to flee the state of Virginia," said Murphy.
They are charged with "manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance prohibited; penalties," according to Virginia state code.
Murphy said the amount of methamphetamine was "consistent with what two or three people would use."
Dove had been receiving $180 a month through SNAP-(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). She was listed as a babysitter on one form, and unemployed on another.
Details of her bail include that she must: undergo random drug/alcohol testing, live with mother, abstain from drugs/alcohol, and participate in evaluations/assessments for substance abuse.
She has already completed a per-screening for Boxwood Recovery Program, a counseling and drug treatment program. This comes on the heels of two other meth lab discoveries. One occurring in Remington on Oct. 23, and the other at the Warrenton Motel on Jan. 28.