Trial postponed for 2 charged in meth lab, grow operation

NEW KENT – It will be another month before the couple accused of operating a meth lab and marijuana grow operation in New Kent will be tried.

A trial was set for Jason Andrew Meade, 25, of New Kent, and Whitney Renee Marciniak, 24, of Highland Springs, in New Kent County Circuit Court for Monday, Aug. 11, but the case was continued until Sept. 8 at 1 p.m.

According to the New Kent Sheriff's Office, Meade and Marciniak were initially wanted earlier this year on burglary and larceny charges but were indicted on drug charges after an active meth lab and grow operation were discovered at Meade's home on May 12.

Meade and Marciniak will face trial for the following direct indictments on Sept. 8: manufacturing methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a gun while selling drugs, possession of methamphetamine precursor, methamphetamine possession, cocaine possession, heroin possession, and marijuana possess (first offense).

The sheriff's office reported that authorities were initially called to Newtown Road after a local resident witnessed a suspicious car in the area. When deputies arrived on scene, they found a home that had been burglarized and spotted two people in the area.

The people, later identified as Meade and Marciniak, fled after deputies tried to make contact and were arrested at approximately 8 a.m. and charged with burglary and larceny, the sheriff's office reported.

Following their arrests, New Kent, Twin Rivers Narcotics Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained a search warrant for stolen property and illegal narcotics and investigated Meade's trailer at 6321 Hopewell Road in the Woodbourne Kampground mobile park.

While searching the home around 12:20 p.m., an active meth lab and marijuana grow operation were found inside the home, according to New Kent Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe McLaughlin, Jr.

The search warrant inventory showed that police seized the following items: Two empty pseudoephedrine boxes, liquid fire drain cleaner, a SKS rifle, two samples of a white chunky substance, green plant material, a digital scale, assorted paraphernalia, suspected methamphetamine, smoking devices/syringes, and two bottles of Lye/Heet

A third person, Nathaniel Blake Atkins, 23, was visiting the Meade's home at the time and was arrested and charged with heroin possession, McLaughlin said. Atkins also faces a direct indictment charge of unauthorized distribution of controlled drug paraphernalia. He is set to face New Kent General District Court on Sept. 2 at 1:30 p.m.

Neighboring trailers were evacuated for a short period of time to ensure the safety of those residents. The residents were allowed to return to their homes about two hours later.

The New Kent Fire/Rescue and Virginia Department of Emergency Services were on also scene to assist hazard mitigation.

Meade and Marciniak are currently under investigation for a number of larcenies, as a part of an ongoing multijurisdictional investigation.

They will be tried on Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. in New Kent Circuit Court on two counts each of entering a house to commit assault and battery and petit larceny.

Robin Lawson contributed to this article.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.