A small apartment fire near BYU led two roommates to contact the police after what they found in their other roommate’s room. The roommate had apparently been manufacturing drugs, specifically methamphetamine, in his room. The roommate is still being sought for questioning.
Breaking Bad at Brigham Young
According to a report from KSL News, the catalyst to the discovery that the roommate was manufacturing drugs was a fire in the suspect’s room on Thursday, Nov. 6. Two of the roommates helped the suspect, a student of Brigham Young University, put out the fire, one he claimed was started by accidentally spilling some rubbing alcohol. The suspect left later that night, stating he was going to visit a friend in the hospital.
One of the roommates who helped the suspect put out the fire, Nicholas Zarate, told police he was curious about the extent of the damage caused by the fire and picked the lock on the door. According to Provo Police Lt. Brandon Post, “At that point they saw suspicious glassware and chemicals and they contacted Riviera [Apartments] management.” Post called it a “fully operational” meth lab.
The Drug Enforcement Administration cleaned up the lab, and because the suspect had been manufacturing drugs, the Utah Department of Health quarantined the apartment. Post said the apartment would require an “extensive cleaning process” before it would be suitable for occupancy again.
The suspect never returned to the apartment. Police are treating him as a person of interest but as of Saturday had not issued a warrant for manufacturing drugs.
Manufacturing Drugs Punishment
According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Utah Code 58-37-8 “Prohibited Acts-Penalties,” manufacturing drugs in unlawful as “knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.”
The Act continues to list the penalties for manufacturing drugs, ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a first degree felony depending on the Schedule classification of the drug and whether it is a repeat offense. There are five Schedule classifications, with Schedule I being considered the most dangerous and addictive. Methamphetamines fall into Schedule II classification, which would result in a second degree felony, punishable by one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (first degree felony if a repeat offense).