A routine traffic stop in the Town of Schoharie resulted in the discovery of a mobile methamphetamine lab in a 2001 four-door BMW sedan and the arrest of three Schoharie County men.
On Sunday, February 7, Cobleskill Troopers pulled over the BMW when the driver failed to use a turn signal on Schoharie Hill Road. The stop led to materials use in an illicit "one pot" method of making meth, according to police.
After interviewing the three men in the car, police determined that they had no reason to be at the home. In addition, one of the men was wanted out of Tennessee for violation of probation, police added.
Further investigation revealed some of the dangerous ingredients that are use running a mobile meth lab, police said.
Troopers arrested three men, Brian J. Dolan, 28, of Broome, Christopher C. Woods, 30 of Middleburgh, and Kurtis E. Jansen, 20, of Cobleskill.
All three were arrested on charges of third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine and second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing material, according to police.
In addition, Mr. Dolan was charged with driving while intoxicated and other traffic offenses. Mr. Woods was found to be the subject of a warrant from Tennessee.
They were arraigned in the Town of Schoharie court. Mr. Dolan and Mr. Jansen were sent to jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail or $40,000. Mr. Woods, who was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, was sent to jail and held without bail, according to police.
The men were almost certainly making the drugs for their own personal consumption and not for a large or re-sale operation, according to State Police Senior Investigator Drew McDonald.
Luckily, Investigator McDonald added, meth manufacturing is not a problem seen much in the region, "and we don't want to."
The items used in making meth in a mobile lab are fairly easily obtained, the Investigator noted. They can include Coleman lantern fuel, cold medicine such as Sudafed, and lithium from batteries. A two-liter soda bottle is often used to contain the very caustic ingredients.
Unlike meth manufacturing at home in which heat is usually used to cook the drugs, heat is not used in mobile labs, he explained. The chemical reaction is all that is needed
In addition to requiring very caustic chemicals, the fumes can be explosive, Investigator McDonald added.
"It's so dangerous" and there is a "serious potential for an explosion," he said.
The method is more common in Southern states such as Tennessee, police noted.
It was not surprising that one of the men was wanted in Tennessee, noted Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond.
"They do a lot of that down there."
The one-pot method is "very mobile and can be taken anywhere," Sheriff Desmond said.
Meth manufacturing was a bigger problem in the past than it is now, but continues to be dangerous both to those who make and those who take it, according to Sheriff Desmond.
Meth makers can be burned during the manufacturing or the chemicals could explode and set a home on fire, he added.
Meth, he explained, can be ingested in several different ways including injection or snorting.
"It's cheap and not complicated" to make, he said, explaining the drug's popularity.