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Police Bust Apparent Mobile Meth Lab In New Jersey Hotel Parking Lot

CBS News, Oct 29, 2015

WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The parking lot of a New Jersey hotel looked like a scene out of “Breaking Bad” when police busted what they say was a mobile meth lab.

It all started Wednesday night with a routine patrol stop when police spotted a suspicious man in a red Chrysler Sebring in the Ramada Inn parking lot on Route 46 in Wayne.

“They observed a vehicle parked with the domelight on and they could see the individual inside the car,” Wayne police Capt. Laurence Martin said. “It looked a little suspicious. They got out of their vehicle, they approached him and they watched him mixing chemicals in water bottles.”

The officers knocked on the windows and fumes started coming out of whatever the suspect was mixing, Martin said.

“They withdrew him from the vehicle and the car filled up with smoke and then they smelled it to and it smelled like ammonia,” Martin said.

The suspect, 34-year-old Christopher Gary Poole, was cooking up meth in the front seat of his car, setting up shop outside of his job, police said. Poole is the general manager of the Tilted Kilt, the restaurant attached to the hotel, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

Poole told the officers he was mixing ammonia nitrate, lighter fluid, lye, lithium, drain cleaner, salt, and pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine, police said.

The incident prompted a massive response from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and state Department of Environmental Protection, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.

“Fire trucks and 12 police cars all around. This area was sealed,” the Ramada’s front desk manager said. “Nobody was allowed to come and go.”

The bomb squad was also called in, Martin said.

“First of all, it’s unhealthy, but second of all, it’s extremely volatile,” Martin told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

In the car, officers found bottles, tubes, a filter and a shot glass, Adams reported.

A number of materials removed from the car had to be detonated in the parking lot, Schuck reported.

“We rarely run into this in New Jersey, but it’s apparently going to become more frequent,” Martin said.

Poole, of Barrington, is charged with creating widespread risk of injury or damage, possession of and manufacturing of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is being held on $5,000 bail.