A Charleston man has been indicted by a federal grand jury after a narcotics investigation by the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department.
According to Sheriff Keith Moore, Jeffrey C. Riley, Jr. was arrested earlier this week after a federal grand jury handed down a two county indictment charging him with conspiracy to make methamphetamine and maliciously burning a building used in an activity affecting interstate commerce. Both are federal offenses punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
The investigation began on Christmas Eve in 2010 when a deputy learned meth was being made at a home in rural Mississippi County. When he and another deputy went to investigate, they smelled a strong chemical odor emanating from the home, so they knocked and were granted entry.
When they entered the home, the deputies say they noticed an increasingly strong chemical smell coming from the second floor of the home. When they went upstairs to investigate, they say they saw several meth precursors strewn throughout the home.
In an upstairs room, a deputy found Riley holding a butane lighter, which he they used to ignite a liquid trail that traveled a straight line toward the deputy before traveling up a wall and across the room.
The flames then ignited a can of Coleman lantern fluid, which exploded, engulfing the entire room in flames. According to the report, Riley then shoved the deputy toward the inferno and tried to run, but was caught by the other deputy.
Sheriff Moore said Riley also faces more than a dozen felonies in state court, but had recently been released from jail after posting a $250,000 surety bond. After his arrest, Riley was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service for whom he is now being held without bond.
"I am very pleased with my deputies and their handling of this investigation," Sheriff Moore said, "and I appreciate the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuting our case."
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