NEW CUMBERLAND - Four local men were arrested in connection with a meth manufacturing investigation that began with a traffic stop on W.Va. 2 on Friday.
New Cumberland police stopped a vehicle driven by Gregory A. Birden, 23, of New Cumberland for failing to wear a seat belt. Following the discovery of equipment used to produce methamphetamine in his trunk, Birden also was charged with the purchase and possession of substances used to manufacture the drug.
He is also charged with driving while suspended and a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.
New Cumberland Police say this bottle containing meth was found in a refrigerator at an apartment on North Chester Street on Friday.
His arrest led to at least three others found to be making the drug in an apartment at 907 North Chester St.
New Cumberland Police Chief Les Skinner said the individuals, who had been under surveillance by the Weirton-Brooke-Hancock Drug Task Force, are Jay Edward Kinzie, 22, of Apartment 3, 907 North Chester St.; Joel Thomas Shaffer, 22, of 614 Doyles Alley; and David John Duffy, 22, of New Cumberland.
The three have been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and exposing a child to the manufacture of the drug. Skinner said a child at the apartment has been removed and placed with a family member.
Skinner said Birden was stopped by a New Cumberland police officer who was on a patrol covered by a state grant aimed at promoting seat belt use. That officer was aware the driver was under surveillance by the Weirton-Brooke-Hancock Drug Task Force, he said.
Skinner said the officer noticed the odor of marijuana from the vehicle and a search led to the discovery of the meth equipment in his trunk. He said it included sulfuric acid, a portable burner and lighter fluid.
Skinner said in addition to the drug task force, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department and State Police were involved in the arrests.