Man pleads guilty to charges stemming from at-home meth lab

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Paul Dunn and Katrina Welch (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Paul Dunn and Katrina Welch (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

A 45-year-old man pleaded guilty to three felony charges Thursday morning in connection with a meth lab investigation at a York County home last spring.

Paul Dunn pleaded guilty in the York-Poquoson Circuit Court to possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance, an amended charge of conspiracy to manufacture a schedule I or II controlled substance and possession of a firearm while in possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance.

Dunn’s sentencing is scheduled for April 18 at 1 p.m. He faces a maximum of 25 years in jail and $7,500 in fines.

The other person charged in the investigation, Katrina Welch, 41, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. She faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced April 13 at 9 a.m.

Dunn, who came to court wearing a suit and had a short, neat haircut, has been out on bond since July 13, according to court records. He was on pretrial supervision and was doing very well, his attorney, J. Stephen Roberts Sr., said at a prior court appearance Feb. 1.

While laying out evidence in court, prosecutor Donna Maw told Judge Richard Rizk that York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office investigators had been surveilling the house in the spring, located at 504 Musket Drive, due to a suspicion methamphetamine was being manufactured there.

Dunn was living at the York County home with his then-girlfriend, Welch, and her two children, Maw said.

Maw said investigators detected methamphetamine in trash recovered from the home, and executed a search warrant on April 18.

According to evidence laid out during Welch’s Feb. 1 plea hearing, the search revealed methamphetamine and ingredients used to make the drug, which was being manufactured in a shed behind the house.

Pseudoephedrine — an ingredient used to make the drug — and methamphetamine were found in the home’s bedroom as well, according to court documents. According to a certificate of analysis from the Department of Forensic Science in Norfolk, police found a total of about 135 grams of pseudoephedrine and 153 grams of pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine together. Three items were also untested, including a length of plastic tubing, a scale and two plastic bags with white residue inside.

Dunn admitted to police he “did use and possess the methamphetamine found in the bedroom,” Maw said.

He also told police he had been buying the ingredients for manufacturing methamphetamine.

In the search, police also found two guns, one in a safe and one in a nightstand in the bedroom, Maw said. The forensic lab found the guns were operable.

Roberts told the court Dunn accepted responsibility for the guns so Welch would not get in trouble.

He also emphasized that the methamphetamine operation was so small, police did not require a hazmat team or any cleanup crews to handle the scene.

A presentence report will be prepared before Dunn’s April 18 sentencing, which will include details on his background, character traits, education and other personal information.

Fearing can be reached at sarah.f@localvoicemedia.com.