2 Arkansas Chemistry Professors Face Charges of Making Meth

It sounds like something from the award-winning former A.M.C. series “Breaking Bad”: The authorities charged two chemistry professors in Arkansas on Friday in connection with the production of methamphetamine.

The instructors, Terry D. Bateman, 45, and Bradley A. Rowland, 40, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department said. Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured illegally with chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Bateman and Mr. Rowland are associate professors of chemistry at Henderson State University, a liberal arts school of about 3,500 students in Arkadelphia, about 70 miles southwest of Little Rock.

The professors went on administrative leave as of Oct. 11, Tina V. Hall, a university associate vice president of marketing and communications, said on Sunday.

Ms. Hall said that the school’s Reynolds Science Center had been closed on Oct. 8 because of “a report of an undetermined chemical odor.” Testing revealed an elevated presence of benzyl chloride in a lab, she said.

Benzyl chloride is used to produce certain dyes and pharmaceutical products, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Short-term effects from inhaling it include irritation of the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.

“Benzyl chloride is an inexpensive and versatile chemical that is used to make many other useful drugs and molecules,” Eric E. Simanek, a professor of chemistry at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, said on Sunday.

Stephen J. Madison, who is on the chemistry faculty at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., said that benzyl chloride could be used to help make methamphetamine.

Henderson State University’s on-call environmental services company conducted remediation work in the building, which reopened on Oct. 29, Ms. Hall said.

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