NASHUA – A Nashua man charged with trying to produce methamphetamine near his children was released on bail, in part, because he injured himself severely in a botched attempted to cook the drugs.
Raymond and Melissa Champagne’s former home at 11A Amory St., Nashua, was condemned by city officials after police and ambulance crews were called there in January for an accident.
Raymond Champagne, 35, suffered serious burns that required emergency skin grafts, according to a motion filed by his attorney. He is charged with cooking methamphetamine and also allowing his young children, 12 and 4 years old, to come into contact with some of the substances and paraphernalia, police said.
Raymond Champagne, 35, formerly of 11A Amory St., Nahsua. Charged with manufacture of methamphetamine and acts prohibited.
He is facing two charges of prohibited conduct, attempted manufacturing of a controlled drug, manufacturing a controlled drug, possession of a controlled drug and possession of a narcotic drug, according to court documents.
Champagne was initially held on $50,000 cash bail. That was reduced to $50,000 personal recognizance bail last month after his public defender, Anthony Sculimbrene, asked a judge to reduce his bail because of Champagne’s health condition.
Champagne suffered a “massive number of serious burns” to a substantial portion of his body, including his torso and hands.
The emergency skin grafts did not heal properly because of his incarceration, and his hands appear to be “encased in red, bubbly wax” and are difficult to move and cause “virtually unbearable pain,” according to Sculimbrene’s motion.
“Treating skin grafts that are this numerous and large is difficult in ideal settings. In Valley Street jail, given the inmate population, (it) is virtually impossible,” Sculimbrene wrote.
Because of a prior brain injury, Champagne also suffers from seizures.
He didn’t receive his seizure medication in jail and had a seizure that caused him to fall and “severely” injure his eye and socket, Sculimbrene said.
Sculimbrene said he visited Champagne in April and saw an “acutely swollen, red and blistered bruise” around his eye.
Judge Diane Nicolosi agreed to lower Champagne’s bail to $50,000 personal recognizance, allowing him to be released from the jail and ordered him to live with his aunt in Nashua, according to court documents.
Police were called to the Amory Street apartment on Jan. 15 and determined Champagne had been using a “one pot” method to cook methamphetamine.
Because of the dangerous and potentially volatile substances used in the process, city police and members of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team searched the building, which was later condemned by Nashua Code Enforcement officers, police said.
One of Champagne’s bail conditions is that he have no unsupervised conduct with children younger than 17.
The “one-pot” method involves mixing ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine in a 12-ounce or 2-liter soda bottle.
The method is dangerous because volatile chemicals mix inside the bottle, creating a gas that can explode, according to Lt. David Bailey of the Nashua Police Narcotics Intelligent Division.
“The bottle becomes a bomb,” Bailey said. “In other areas of the state, they’ve had buildings completely burn down from these things.”
If anyone encounters a bottle with white powdery residue and emitting a strong ammonia odor, he or she should call police immediately, Bailey said.
“In Nashua, this is the first one-pot we’ve seen in several years. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there,” he said.
One-pots for manufacturing methamphetamine have been a problem elsewhere in New England, Bailey said.
Melissa Champagne, who was placed on administrative leave in her position as a part-time lunch monitor in the Nashua School District, was charged with two felony counts of prohibited conduct, police said.