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.
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.