ELLWOOD CITY — A complaint to police about a mysterious odor led to the discovery of a “one pot” methamphetamine lab Thursday in Ellwood City.
Michael Joseph Tomasello, 55, of 423 Spring Ave., Apartment 1, Ellwood City, was charged with operating a methamphetamine lab and other offenses Thursday morning. According to a criminal complaint filed with District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright Jr., Ellwood City police responded just after 10 p.m. Thursday to a report from a neighbor of a strong chemical smell in the building.
Officers arrived at Tomasello’s apartment and confirmed the chemical smell and located a type of acid commonly used in the production of methamphetamine. The officers received permission to search Tomasello’s apartment and contacted the state police’s Clandestine Lab Response Team to assist.
Items found in the search included used coffee filters, two packages of an over-the-counter medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, lithium batteries and charcoal starter fluid — all items commonly used in the production of “one-pot,” or small, batches of methamphetamine.
Police took Tomasello into custody after the search. During questioning, he said he and two other people were manufacturing the methamphetamine, police said.
In addition to operating a methamphetamine laboratory, Tomasello was charged with delivery or possession with intent to deliver, using ammonia gas-related chemicals, conspiracy to manufacture with intent to deliver, conspiracy to operate a methamphetamine lab, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arraigned before District Judge Melissa Amodie and placed in the Lawrence County Jail after failing to post $10,000 bail.