A Conway man is behind bars in the county jail after authorities reportedly found a nearly-complete meth lab in his vehicle.
Officer Carson Howard pulled over a black and red 2003 Pontiac Grand Am that matched the description of the suspect vehicle used in two recent robberies at the Wendy's on Dave Ward Drive around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Howard pulled over the suspect vehicle because it had a busted headlight, according to a report.
While talking to the driver, 24-year-old Brandon Blankenship, Howard saw several syringes lying in the backseat. At this point, the investigation escalated and Blankenship was asked to get out of the vehicle.
According to the report, Blankenship claimed he was an insulin-dependent diabetic but also admitted to using methamphetamine.
While searching the 24-year-old's pockets to ensure he did not have any contraband on him, Howard found a brass pipe and another syringe, the report states. After the officers searched his pockets, Blankenship reportedly gave them the OK to search the Pontiac.
As the search began, officers immediately found "multiple bottles and jars filled with unidentifiable liquids" that Blankenship said he collected and used "for his experiments, due to his fascination with chemistry."
Conway Fire Department Battalion Chief John Skinner and CFD's Hazmat Team set up a safety perimeter and began working to identify what the suspicious substances were, according to a report.
Of the items collected as evidence in Blankenship's vehicle included:A glass jar that had a "tri-layer solution" in it. The solution was "yellow on top" and had a narrow layer of white substance in the middle, covering a light brown liquid. A light bulb that had the inside, electric portion removed and instead filled with a green liquid. At the bottom of the bulb was a thin layer "that had the consistency of wet sand." A water bottle labeled as "Clorinated Water." A glass jar that had a white, chalky substance inside. Sgt. Tom Kennedy said this piece appeared to be a "pill soak ... [which is] a method using chemicals to extract chemicals out of medication such as psuedophedrine to utilize during a meth cook." A clear bottle filled with a green liquid that showed to have "acidic properties." A clear bottle filled with "a clear liquid." A glass jar that had a "very small amount of a yellow/brown liquid" that showed to have acidic properties. A 2-liter with a "yellow/brown liquid" in it. A 2-liter bottle that had a black liquid in it. A bottle that was fashioned into a funnel with "a white residue" in it. A spray bottle that read: "Danger: Contains Sulfuric Acid." A gallon-sized container labeled: "Muriatic Acid." A bottle labeled: "HEET." Police said it "would be expected to be found at a "Red Phosphorus" methamphetamine cook." A cloth bag filled with cell phones. Each of the phones reportedly had its lithium battery removed, which is a "commonly-utilized" technique for those using a "one-pot" or "shake and bake" method to create meth, according to a report. A white substance Blankenship claimed was formaldehyde. Authorities believed the substance was used as "a cutting agent." Several used and unused. A baggie with suspected meth in it that was hidden in the air filter box. There was also a set of rubber gloves in the air filter box, the report states. A pipe with suspected marijuana residue in it. Boxes of "sore throat lozenges." Cold packs. A "small amount" of marijuana. A thermometer. Pieces of tubing and a suspected meth pipe. Empty pill capsules and a spoon. A prescription bottle "with a faded label that contained 16 Hydroxyzine pills."
According to the report, police believe the items were used to create a rolling meth lab.
"Although there are still items missing to perform a full "cook," the collection of these items, which would normally not be together for any other legitimate reason, could not be for any other legal purpose," Sgt. Kennedy wrote in his report.
As of press time Monday, Blankenship remained behind bars in the Faulkner County Detention Center in lieu of a $15,000 bond.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.