UPDATE 11/21/13 @ 7:05 p.m.
NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) – More than 40 rooms at a motel in Nitro are now closed until further notice, after the second meth lab bust there in the last six months. This time, police say a toddler was inside the room.
Nitro Police got an anonymous call Thursday morning about a possible meth lab at the Economy Inn on Route 25. When they arrived, police said they found materials to make meth inside Room 217, but not much finished meth.
“Acetone, there were beakers, there's glassware, there's tubing, there's red phosphorus, there's just all the items that they need. Numerous coffee filters,” Major David Richardson of Nitro Police said. “Normally in a lab like this, you don't [find finished meth]. If you do, you don't find very much. Normally they're making it for them. They're using it as they make it.”
Police arrested Jennifer Funk, 32, and Jennifer Boggs, 34. Both women are facing charges of attempting to operate a meth lab, and Funk is also facing a charge of child endangerment, after police say they found an 18-month-old boy inside the room.
“Children's toys, children's clothes. The main bag that had most of the meth material in it was right next to the refrigerator where all the children's food was,” Richardson said. “There was food in the room that's got bugs on it. The room itself was just not really habitable for a child anyway, and then when you throw the meth lab into the mix, you know, that's the real concern that I have right now.”
He added, “The parents make the decisions to do the things they want to do, but the child's just there. They don't have a choice.”
The bust back in June was in the other building at the motel. Brandon Lewis, the clandestine drug lab remediation coordinator from the state’s Division of Health and Human Resources, said at the time, he told the motel’s owners they needed to shut down all the rooms in that building until they could be cleaned and tested.
“We look at the entire property. We see what the rooms are like,” Lewis said. “Do they have shared ventilation? Do they have [a] common attic?”
The motel owners told WSAZ.com they were told by the city of Nitro’s code enforcement that they only needed to shut down the rooms directly surrounding the room where meth was found in June. Either way, the state and police say the owners should not have been renting out the rooms, and they didn’t have the rooms tested within 30 days as required by law. The owners said they couldn’t afford it.
“We try to work with them as much as possible with what the law will allow us to do. The law does not spell out a lot on what happens after 30 days,” Lewis said. “Our only concern is that the motel remains closed and doesn’t get rented out to innocent people […] As long as they’re keeping the doors closed, then they can take as much time as they need right now.”
Both buildings, with a total of 42 rooms between them, are now closed and condemned until they can be tested by an approved testing company and cleaned so they are no longer contaminated.
Police say Funk told them her husband, Quinton Funk, is the one who was cooking the meth. Police also found meth in a car in the motel’s parking lot, which Funk told them also belongs to her husband.
The toddler found in the room was taken to the hospital to be checked for any health issues. Police said they were trying to locate a seven year old girl who was also living there, and they believe she may be a student in Lincoln County, W.Va.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
Nitro Police tell WSAZ.com, it happened at the Economy Inn on Route 25 Thursday morning.
Police say Jennifer Funk and Jennifer Boggs are in custody. They are working on getting a warrant for Funk's husband, Quinton.
Police say an 18-month-old was also in the room. The child has been taken to the hospital to be checked out.
We have a crew on the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.