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Man pleads guilty in mobile meth lab case, faces up to 80 years in prison

Robert Copley Jr. (Courtesy JCCPD)
Robert Copley Jr. (Courtesy JCCPD)

A 39-year-old man who was found driving a possible mobile meth lab in August has pleaded guilty to manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine.

Robert Copley Jr., a James City County resident, pleaded guilty to the two felony drug charges Dec. 20 in the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court, according to court documents.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two felony drug charges, documents state.

Copley is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. March 7. He faces up to 80 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines on each charge, according to the Virginia Code.

Copley was arrested in the parking lot of the Norge Farm Fresh Aug. 9 after he fled a house where the Tri Rivers Drug Task Force was executing a search warrant, according to police.

While executing the search warrant, police saw a vehicle driven by “a relative” pull up to the residence, located in the 100 block of Tarbark Lane, then flee the scene. Police pulled Copley over in the parking lot of Farm Fresh, located at 115 Norge Lane.

Police said they found “byproducts consistent with the production of methamphetamines,” in both Copley’s vehicle and at the house, including evidence indicating methamphetamine production in a shed.

A lab test filed in circuit court shows about .2318 grams of power found in Copley’s possession tested positive for methamphetamine.

Sean Copley (Courtesy JCCPD)
Sean Copley (Courtesy JCCPD)

Copley’s brother, Sean Copley, 36, is also accused of manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine after being arrested at the house Aug. 9.

Sean Copley’s case is set to be heard by a grand jury Jan. 17. If the grand jury determines there is enough evidence against him, the case will be heard in circuit court.

A third man accused in the incident, Byron Wade Davis, 44, is scheduled to enter a plea deal on a felony charge of possession of schedule I or II drugs at 9 a.m. Jan. 16, according to court records.

Byron Davis, 41 (Courtesy JCCPD)
Byron Davis, 41 (Courtesy JCCPD)

Court records show Copley was also arrested Oct. 6, 2016 after he was involved in a crash in York County. Police said he and a woman, Jennifer Kendrick, were operating a mobile meth lab out of the minivan involved in the accident.

In April, prosecutors agreed to drop three felony charges against Copley, finding him guilty of one charge of possession of marijuana.

Copley avoided jail time for the Oct. 6, 2016 arrest after a judge suspended his entire 12-month sentence.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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