Man charged with manufacturing DMT, a hallucinogenic drug, at Lake Avenue apartment

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Derek Russell
Derek Russell

MANCHESTER, NH – A city man was charged with possession of a controlled drug after police discovered he was manufacturing a synthetic drug known as DMT inside a Lake Avenue apartment.

Derek Russell, 40, no fixed address, was arrested May 18, charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent distribute; and manufacturing of a controlled drug. He was placed on a 72-hour probation/parole hold for his alleged involvement with the drug-lab operation.

Related Story: Police, DEA investigate toxic drug lab at Lake Street apartment

Manchester Police Officers Jamie Branch and Benjamin Foster were the first officers to respond to 336 Lake Avenue at 8:13 a.m. for an unknown medical issue. Some residents reported not feeling well, likely due to the toxic nature of the drug lab.

Upon arrival, they spoke with a crew from AMR about activity they observed in one of the apartments. The officers investigated and observed several glass jars containing an unknown brown substance with a strong odor. Based on past training and experience, police decided to evacuate approximately 20 residents from the small apartment building and contacted Manchester Fire until they could determine what the chemical was.

Prior to evacuating the building, police spoke with Russell, who was standing inside apartment No. 6. A woman was also present with three young children while the officers spoke with Russell. Russell allegedly spent the night in the apartment, but is not a resident of the building. The woman and the three children were taken to an area hospital as a precautionary measure due to exposure to the fumes.

DEA Agent Michael Lecuyer arrived to determine whether the substance in the jars was part of a meth lab, which are known to be highly explosive and unpredictable.

Special Agent Lecuyer determined the product contained in the glass jars was Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a Schedule 1 drug, which are a class of drugs with no known medical use. A team from the Manchester Police Special Enforcement Division, New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad, Manchester Fire and AMR Ambulance were called to the scene and assisted with the removal of the brown liquid.

DMT is a psychedelic hallucinogen that can cause blackouts. It is a derivative of a South American tree root, according to police, and is typically made into a powder form before it is mixed with household products and eventually dried into a powdered substance.

DMT has an incendiary quality and is extremely flammable when mixed with the byproducts needed to render it a Schedule 1 drug. Team members entered the apartment house in protective suits and removed a large quantity of the liquid substance. All residents were allowed to reenter the building at 3 p.m.

Russell will be arraigned in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester at 8:15 a.m. on May 19.

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About Carol Robidoux 5555 Articles
Journalist and editor of, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • Lisa M Freeman

    This is becoming all too commonplace. MPD needs to do more community outreach, and if that means going door to door to inform people, than so be it. For all of us living on the East Side, take back your community!

  • Sterling hager

    It was my son that was the 3 year old in that apt I left work to go to hospital where dcyf told me he was only to be ignored and not told where my son was so I want to the drug lab my x girlfriend Brandi cottrell had in her house and found my son only to have the drug makers pull a police button on me and attempt to strike me I got the weapon away and left building only later to be arrested for trying to get my kid home. He does not live in Manchester he lives with me in Exeter nh he goes to Appleseed school here in Exeter that I pay for I take to soccer and lets just say my son is my world and the police won’t help me bring him home he has to spend another night with a mother that would rather get Hugh then read to him and I get arrested what is this world coming to Tuesday im calling dcyf my lawer and anyone that will understand He was there for the week end he lives with me how are they all not in jail after almost killing 20 people and indangering thous children.

  • John Hilger

    Do you people believe everything you see on TV? That just looks like a dark brew of amazonian tea in the picture. Is making an herbal tincture with legal herbal medicine suddenly illegal if its called ‘manufacturing’ by apparently uneducated, overzealous prosecutors following orders from a hysterical neighbor? This should be interesting. Hide the elderberry wine and the kava. Protect us from the evil plants and herbal tea, O Great Overlords.

  • dadumdee

    LOL, DMT is the opposite of synthetic. It’s literally in your body (the pineal gland) and it’s found in all plants. This scare mongering prohibitionist crap is laughable. Google “The Spirit Molecule” and learn about this substance that’s been promoting spiritual healing in people for thousands of years.