September 4, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Arlington police arrest journalist, roommate on meth charge
William Hudgens, Leonard Fischer, gay news, Washington Blade

Arlington police confiscated equipment believed to be for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine while arresting gay journalist Leonard Fischer (right) and his roommate, William Hudgens. (Photo courtesy of Arlington Police)

A journalist who previously worked as a tech reporter for the Gannett News Service and his roommate were arrested in their Arlington apartment on Aug. 28 on a charge that they allegedly were attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, according to Arlington police.

The journalist, Leonard Fischer, 44, and his roommate, William Hudgens, 31, were charged and released on bail after police obtained a search warrant, searched their apartment, and confiscated chemicals and equipment said to be used for the manufacture of methamphetamine, police said.

“On or about Aug. 27, 2012, law enforcement officers responded to 801 N. Monroe Street, Apt. 305, Arlington, Virginia, in reference to a violent domestic disturbance,” says a police affidavit in support of a search warrant filed in Arlington Circuit Court.

“Once inside the residence, officers observed, in plain view, items consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine to include a triangle glass beaker on the kitchen counter along with a possible ‘fuel’ source on the floor below it,” the affidavit says.

A list of items confiscated in the search, which was also filed in court, includes caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, phosphoric acid, “suspected sulfuric acid,” propane cylinders, and assorted Pyrex dishes.

“Residents of three floors in the complex were evacuated for safety concerns,” a police statement says. Police said later that some of the residents had to find lodging in nearby hotels until investigators with the Arlington Fire Department determined it was safe for the residents to return to their apartments.

The police affidavit says that during questioning by police, Fischer and Hudgens accused each other of being responsible for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine in the apartment. The affidavit says Hudgens told police he was attempting to move his belongings out of the apartment at the time police were called.

It says Fischer holds the lease to the apartment and that Hudgens had been staying there for several months. Court records state that Hudgens had no fixed address at the time he first appeared in court. Both men were ordered to undergo alcohol and drug screening and testing before their next scheduled court appearance on Oct. 5.

New York gay blogger Kenneth Walsh reported in his blog Kenneth in the (212) that Fischer is a former tech reporter for Gannett and that his byline frequently appeared in the Gannett-owned newspaper USA Today. Last week, Fischer’s LinkedIn page stated he still worked for Gannett. However, Fischer stated in a court form seeking to determine if he could afford to retain a lawyer that he currently works as a freelance journalist.

Walsh told the Blade that a mutual friend who went to Indiana University with Fischer told him that Fischer is gay.

“Sad to see yet another gay man felled by meth,” Walsh wrote in his blog.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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