A Long Beach man who was arrested in May on felony reckless endangerment and other charges for allegedly running a clandestine methamphetamine lab in his West Beech Street home was indicted on Wednesday.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that 41-year-old Jovin Weinstock was arraigned before acting Nassau Supreme Court Justice Francis Ricigliano in Mineola, and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of meth manufacturing materials and other charges stemming from an incident that triggered a massive emergency response, including agents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Weinstock was severely injured in what police called a possible drug mishap on May 10 in a garage in a side yard at his home at 324 W. Beech St., which had the community on edge. Police and firefighters rushed to the home and found Weinstock naked and unconscious in the front yard. He was taken to Mount Sinai South Nassau in serious condition, with what appeared to be a head injury and respiratory distress. While attempting to determine how Weinstock was injured — and whether any others people were involved — police and firefighters discovered what was described as a “fully functioning methamphetamine manufacturing laboratory” in a side garage.
Neighbors in the area were forced to evacuate for hours. According to the indictment, obtained by the Herald, Weinstock’s actions posed a “grave risk of death” to others. Weinstock — who police said was a former lab technician and lived with his parents — pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His attorney, Mitchell Barnett, could not be reached for comment, but told Newsday that no methamphetamine was found at the location, and that his client denies making the drug. “I think most of the stuff that was found there is found in anybody’s garage,” Barnett said. “I believe there are answers for why the chemicals [were] there.”
According to Singas, when police entered Weinstock’s home and detached garage, they found scientific lab equipment, including glassware, tubing, measuring equipment and a ventilation system, as well as acid, denatured alcohol and an unknown substance in a triple neck flask that was being stirred on a lab hot plate.
Specialized teams from a number of law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, Singas said, including a Nassau County Fire Marshal’s hazmat team, the Nassau County Police Department Arson-Bomb Squad, and a State Police CCSERT unit.
“An FBI Special Agent Bomb Technician tested the unknown substance,” Singas’s office stated in a news release, “and allegedly found it to be a mixture containing nitrotoluene, a substance that can explode under certain conditions.”
In a search of the home, law enforcement also recovered 289 store-bought and packaged tablets of Sudafed, which can be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as hand-written chemical equations and notations for the creation of nitrotoluene and methaqualone, or quaaludes, and instructions on how to manufacture methamphetamine.
Weinstock has since recovered from his injuries. His bail was set at $100,000 cash or $100,000 bond. He is due back in court on Jan. 13.