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Innocent plea entered in drug case

2 former HSU chemistry professors accused of making meth by Nyssa Kruse | February 6, 2020 at 2:55 a.m.

Two former Henderson State University chemistry professors pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges that they created methamphetamine in school laboratories.

Bradley Rowland and Terry Bateman face charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia to manufacture methamphetamine cocaine, possession of pseudoephedrine etc. with purpose to manufacture methamphetamine and manufacturing a Schedule IV/V substance.

Henderson State spokeswoman Tina Hall said Rowland and Bateman are no longer employed by the school.

Authorities began investigating in December 2018 when a lawyer for the university told the sheriff's office that a faculty member believed two professors were involved in some kind of illegal activity.

Faculty members had observed "drastic changes" in the professors' personal hygiene and weight, according to a probable-cause affidavit, and saw them in laboratories late at night and early in the morning.

They were "extremely guarded" toward students and faculty members who entered the laboratory, according to the affidavit. They questioned why others were there and never let lab visitors out of their sight, the affidavit said.

Less than a month later, in January 2019, law enforcement investigators visited the lab and smelled a chemical known to be a precursor to creation of amphetamine or methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. There was no evidence that anything other than the precursor chemical was being created, the affidavit said.

Authorities again visited the laboratories in October after a chemical spill. Samples taken that day from the laboratories tested positive in November for methamphetamine and/or the precursor chemical, phenyl-2-propanone, the affidavit said.

"These test results are conclusive that methamphetamine and phenyl-2-propanone had, in fact, been manufactured inside the university laboratory," the affidavit said.

Students in the chemistry building on the day of the spill told authorities that they saw Rowland and Bateman enter the building and that the professors were the ones who cleaned the spill, the affidavit said.

One student said the professors told students that the chemical spilled "might have been benzyl chloride," according to the probable-cause affidavit, a chemical used to create phenyl-2-propanone.

A search of Rowland's office found handwritten documents containing chemical formulas. A search of Bateman's office found documents related to creation of chemicals, including phenyl-2-propanone, and a safe, the affidavit said.

Authorities forced open the safe and reported finding 190 glass vials with residue in them. Field tests on two vials were positive for methamphetamine, reports said.

Vials also were found in a refrigerator that a faculty member said Rowland and Bateman were "constantly checking on," according to the affidavit. One vial tested positive for methamphetamine, the affidavit said.

Bateman and Rowland have been released on bond from the Clark County jail.

Metro on 02/06/2020

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