Ex-security officer charged with cooking meth at U.S. government lab

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2015 5:54 PM

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - A former security officer at a federal laboratory in Maryland was charged on Tuesday with trying to make methamphetamine there, and his lawyer said he was expected to plead guilty.

The suspect, Christopher Bartley, 41, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, faces one count in U.S. District Court of attempting to make the drug at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), also in Gaithersburg.

The charge stems from a July 18 explosion in an NIST laboratory that set off heat sensors in the building. Bartley was slightly injured in the blast.

An NIST spokeswoman said Bartley resigned the day after the explosion.

Steven VanGrack, Bartley's attorney, said a plea agreement had been reached and Bartley was expected to plead guilty. Bartley, a military veteran, had been conducting "an unauthorized training experiment that failed," VanGrack said.

Bartley faces up to 20 years in prison.

(Reporting by Donna Owens; Editing by Sandra Maler)