The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 22, 2014

Meth by-product in 'gas' container doesn't fool police

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Staff Writer

CONNEAUT —

A container marked "gasoline" held instead methamphetamine residue and helped to put a Conneaut area man in jail over the weekend, police said.
Matthew Lett, 35, of 5915 Center Road, has numerous drug charges after he was arrested during a traffic stop early Saturday morning. A passenger, Matthew McMillen, 19, of Beckwith Road in Pierpont Township, was also charged, police said. Both men face felony charges, a Conneaut Municipal Court spokeswoman said Monday.
Lett has been charged with illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal assembly/possession of drugs, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of a drug abuse instrument, a Conneaut Municipal Court spokeswoman said. McMillen has been charged with complicity, the spokeswoman said.
Both men were arraigned Monday afternoon before Judge Thomas Harris and will have preliminary hearings on Monday. Each will be represented by a court-appointed attorney. Bond for Lett was set at $50,000 cash/surety, while McMillen's bond is $25,000 cash/surety.
The incident began around 3:30 a.m., when an officer on patrol noticed Lott behind the wheel of a vehicle at the Love's Travel Center plaza at Interstate 90 and Route 7, according to a report. Learning Lott was driving under suspension, the officer stopped the vehicle and searched the vehicle. He found a syringe beneath the center console, used syringes wrapped in paper towels inside the console and a one-gallon can marked "mixed gas 40/1" and "chainsaw." A test of the contents, however, revealed the liquid to be a by-product of the meth-making process, Police Chief Charles Burlingham.
Both men were arrested and taken to the police station. En route, Lett told the officer he had 15 pseudoephedrine pills — used to make meth — hidden in his shoes. When Lett was searched at the station prior to entering the jail, officers found a small plastic bag containing meth in a pocket, according to the report.