Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A husband and wife from Bristol, Virginia will each spend time in federal prison after being sentenced last week on a pair of federal drug charges related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine on premises where a minor child was present, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.
Charles Daniel Houser, 32, was sentenced on April 29, 2018, to 48 months in prison. In a separate hearing the same day, his wife, Ashley Nicole Houser, 32, was sentenced to 36 months in prison. The defendants previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and one count of creating a substantial risk of harm to the life of a minor while manufacturing methamphetamine.
“Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute cases involving the manufacturing of methamphetamine, particularly in cases where children are present or reside,” United States Attorney Cullen said today. “As a result of our efforts, we have seen a decline in the number of methamphetamine manufacturing cases in Southwest Virginia. We will continue to work diligently with our federal, state, and local law-enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these cases.”
“Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous drug. Not only can distribution and use of methamphetamine put Virginians at risk, but manufacturing methamphetamine is an inherently dangerous process that poses significant risk to the public and community,” said Attorney General Herring. “Southwest Virginia has been hit hard by addiction and methamphetamine, in particular. My team and I take these cases very seriously and we will continue to work with our federal and local partners to keep Southwest Virginia safe.”
According to information presented at previous hearings by Special Assistant United States Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen, a Virginia Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Attorney General’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section, the defendants maintained a premises on Hobbs Road in Bristol for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine. Charles Houser, Ashley Houser, and the couple’s five-year-old son were present at the house during the period between July 5, 2015, and July 13, 2016, when the defendants have admitted to manufacturing methamphetamine.
During the execution of a search warrant at the premises on July 13, 2016, officers recovered a variety of items used for the production of methamphetamine, including a mortar bowl with residue, Crown Camp fuel, pipe cutters, funnels, sulfuric acid drain cleaner, and other drug paraphernalia, including smoking devices and syringes. A large burn pile containing additional items indicative of a recent methamphetamine laboratory was also discovered. The Housers and their minor child arrived during the search warrant execution and the defendants later admitted their activities related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Special Assistant United States Attorney and Virginia Assistant Attorney General Suzanne Kerney-Quillen prosecuted the case for the United States.