Monday, November 18, 2019

Henderson State chemistry professors charged for making meth

The authorities charged two chemistry professors in Arkansas on Friday in connection with the production of methamphetamine. 
The instructors, Terry D. Bateman, 45, and Bradley A. Rowland, 40, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department said. Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured illegally with chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
Mr. Bateman and Mr. Rowland are associate professors of chemistry at Henderson State University, a liberal arts school of about 3,500 students in Arkadelphia, about 70 miles southwest of Little Rock. 
The professors went on administrative leave as of Oct. 11, Tina V. Hall, a university associate vice president of marketing and communications, said on Sunday. 
Ms. Hall said that the school’s Reynolds Science Center had been closed on Oct. 8 because of “a report of an undetermined chemical odor.” Testing revealed an elevated presence of benzyl chloride in a lab, she said.
I wonder what got into these professors? 

22 comments:

  1. Meth. Meth got into those professors.

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  2. On page 38 of this (https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/adhe/HSU_FY18.pdf) you can find their 2018 salaries. They're being paid higher than I would have suspected for chemistry professors at $49,000 and $54,000 plus they're getting state benefits.

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    1. You could live like a king in rural Arkansas on 49K.

      I remember a manager 2 org levels above me telling me that her little brother stayed in their rural hometown, didn't go to college, works in a factory, and has a nicer house and car than her because of the cost of living difference!

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    2. They had jobs that they probably can't get fired from if they get tenure and they were looking at 1 - 1.5 million pre-tax by the time they hit retirement age. Now they're going to get some type of criminal record that's going to make it hard to replace their jobs whether they get convicted or not.

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    3. Wait... I make $68K as a postdoc... that's a good salary for a professor???

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    4. anon 11:32: That's a spectacular salary for lib arts profs in rural anywhere, except maybe rural California.

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    5. Anon 11:32: also, according to Wiki, the average income for Arkadelphia is $13k.

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  3. There might be some actual evidence. Right now, it doesn't sound there is any. Benzyl chloride being spilled, annoying, but that sort of thing happens in chemistry labs all the time. People use benzyl chloride all the time in chem labs, mostly not to make meth. But one professor was a fan of 'Breaking Bad' and publically praised the show. These are the facts mentioned so far: benzyl chloride + fan of Breaking Bad, and that may be all the evidence there actually is. This might be a railroad. Some cynical prosecutor could be saying, right now, 'well, they MIGHT have been making meth, it's POSSIBLE, and if I charge them with enough felonies they'll probably cop a plea.'

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    1. I know of a situation where a pharma company got raided by DEA agents with guns drawn, scaring the living shit out of everyone there. Apparently, this was triggered because the company had ordered a large amount of a chemical that could be used as a drug precursor. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if some chemistry professor stumbled upon a tripwire by placing an order for a chemical that could be used to make drugs, and some DA jumped on the opportunity to get in front of TV news cameras.

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    2. I declined a project once because of exactly these concerns, no chemistry was going to get done unless there was a letter of support from university counsel and the defense lawyer was on retainer. The precursors just looked too much like precursors to scheduled drugs.

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    3. "and the defense lawyer was on retainer."

      Who required there to be a defense lawyer on retainer? In the absence of any criminal proceedings, what could possibly be gained from having a defense lawyer on retainer that the university counsel could not offer?

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  4. Note that they were not charged with intent to distribute (yet). So that indicates if they were actually manufacturing Meth, it was for personal use, making this whole situation very sad and not at all any different from the problems rural America is facing today. Just because people have good jobs and are intelligent doesn't mean they're immune from addiction.

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    1. Except that why would a person making small quantities start from benzyl chloride? That's, like, 7 synthetic steps to methamphetamine. A small-time tweaker is going to start with Sudafed. One step. Nobody would bother with the long synthetic pathway unless they were making large quantities. So either there is some evidence of a kilolab that is not being shared, or this is a complete frameup.

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  5. I'm curious to know what paraphernalia they supposedly found. I could imagine a lot of chemistry glassware passing as "drug paraphernalia," but unless they can recover methamphetamine residue from the glassware it doesn't seem very fair to call it that.

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  6. Is this surprising? I assume that just statistically speaking, out of the hundreds of chemistry professors around the country, one or two would be tempted to cook up illicit substances. Wonder what the statistics are.

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    1. A chemist can add "cook drugs" to embezzlement, prostitution, and other risky things a person in a bad financial situation might attempt.

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    2. During the late 1960s, wasn't the chemistry department at Wesleyan (the one in CT) supposed to be just about the best supplier in the US for LSD?

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  7. Isn't Henderson College Derek's Alma Mater? I'm assuming it has subsequently been upgraded to a University.

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    1. Derek's alma mater is Hendrix College, in Conway, AR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Lowe_(chemist)

      Henderson State University is located in Arkadelphia, AR.

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  8. Meth - not even once.November 19, 2019 at 3:27 AM

    Wasn't there a chemist at Eli Lilly in Indy who was manufacturing Meth & distributing it? I swear Milkshake told this story somewhere long ago, but I could be wrong.....

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  9. The Good news is there will be two more openings for organic chemistry professors!

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  10. It was an intellectual challenge. Prepare methamphetamine starting from benzyl chloride,alcohols of four carbons or less, and any needed inorganic reagents.

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