A former lieutenant with the police force at at federal laboratory near Washington, D.C., was charged Tuesday with trying to cook meth at the lab last month.
The former police officer, Christopher Bartley, is being charged with “knowingly and intentionally attempting to manufacture a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, according to court documents obtained by NBC Washington.
On July 18, a Saturday night, Bartley allegedly caused an explosion in one of the labs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. At the time of the explosion, Bartley was on duty with the lab’s police force.
The explosion blew out windows in the building and set off a heat alarm that alerted fire fighters to the scene. Police arrived shortly after to find Bartley with burns on his hands and arms.
Inside the building, police also found drain cleaner, a recipe for meth, pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in Sudafed.
The security guard was taken to a local hospital and treated for burns before being released Sunday morning. By Sunday night, he had resigned from his police job.
Congress opened an investigation into the blast the following week, seeking to understand how an employee of the federal government could be producing meth in a government funded lab.
Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, which oversees NIST, told The Daily Caller News Foundation his committee is still investigating the matter.
“When a high-ranking security official is able to take advantage of a federal facility in this manner, it raises many other concerns about the agency’s security processes,” he said. “How long was this going on? Did no one notice that a lab was being abused in this manner?”
NIST does a wide variety of testing and experiments, including measurement science. The campus where the explosion occurred is located about 15 miles north of Washington, D.C.
Gail Porter, a spokeswoman for NIST told TheDCNF her agency has been actively aiding in the police investigation.
“NIST has been fully supporting the ongoing investigation of that incident and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as requested,” she said.