WAYNE, N.J. -- A "billowing cloud of white fumes" poured from a mobile meth lab parked in the lot of a Route 46 restaurant in Wayne late Wednesday after local police said they caught a Camden County man mixing highly volatile chemicals to make the drug.
As Daily Voice first reported exclusively, the discovery brought a host of emergency responding agencies -- including the DEA and the Passaic County Bomb Squad -- to the Tilted Kilt restaurant, located at the Ramada Inn, beginning around 9:30 p.m. SEE: Arrest Made, DEA Responds To Parking Lot Meth Lab In Wayne
Minutes earlier, Officers Joseph Rooney and Rob Fernandez saw the dome light on and 34-year-old Christopher Gary Poole moving around inside a 2007 Chrysler Sebring, Wayne Police Capt. Laurence W. Martin said.
They watched briefly as Poole "began filtering liquids and pouring substances into clear water bottles," he said.
As Fernandez walked around to the passenger side, the car begin to fill with white fumes, Martin said.
The officers got Poole out and were nearly overcome by what they described as "a strong odor of ammonia," he said.
It turned out that Poole, of Barrington, was mixing ammonia nitrate, lighter fluid, lye, lithium, drain cleaner, salt, and pseudoephedrine "in an effort to manufacturer methamphetamine," the captain said.
He was also carrying syringes, Martin said.
Lt. Steve Giardino, Sgt. Mike Mcniff and Officers Mark Ciavirella and Chris Carbone established a crime scene perimeter, and the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department was summoned. The Wayne Memorial First Aid Squad was placed on standby.
"The Passaic County Sheriff's Bomb Squad was notified and responded due to the volatility of the chemicals, the Drug Enforcement Administration clandestine lab group responded to neutralize and advise on the dismantling of the mobile lab," Martin said.
Poole was being held on $5,000 bail in the Passaic County Jail, charged with creating a widespread risk of injury or damage, possession of and the manufacture of meth and drug paraphernalia possession.
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