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Chemistry professors charged with making methamphetamine

Henderson State University chemists also charged with using drug paraphernalia

by Bethany Halford
November 19, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 46

Mug shot of a white male.
Credit: Clark County Sheriff's Office
Terry David Bateman

Two chemistry professors at Henderson State University were arrested on Nov. 15 for allegedly making methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia, according to a press release from the Clark County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office. Terry David Bateman and Bradley Allen Rowland, both associate chemistry professors at HSU, have been on administrative leave since Oct. 11, said Tina V. Hall, a spokesperson for HSU, in a statement.

A mugshot of a white man.
Credit: Clark County Sheriff's Office
Bradley Allen Rowland

According to Hall, one of HSU’s science buildings was closed on Oct. 8 after a report of a chemical odor. “Initial testing indicated an elevated presence of benzyl chloride in a laboratory,” Hall said. The building reopened on Oct. 29, following remediation work and after third-party testing indicated the building met occupancy standards.

Benzyl chloride is a popular compound for organic synthesis. It can be used as a precursor to make methamphetamine, says Donna J. Nelson, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma and a consultant on the TV series “Breaking Bad,” which was about a high school chemistry teacher who begins making and selling methamphetamine. It is not clear if the professors used HSU’s labs to make methamphetamine.

Bateman finished his undergraduate studies at HSU in 2003 and completed his doctoral work in 2009 at the University of Arkansas, where he studied organic synthesis. He has been at HSU since 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile. Rowland, whose specialty is listed as theoretical chemistry on HSU’s chemistry faculty website, completed his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University in 2002 and finished his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. According to his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Rowland joined HSU’s faculty in 2014. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN.



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