Federal Officer Resigns After Possible Drug-Related Explosion

The federal law enforcement officer injured in an explosion on a government campus police say could be tied to the manufacture of drugs has resigned.

An officer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md. resigned after the explosion Saturday, NIST spokeswoman Gail Porter told the Associated Press.

The blast ripped through a NIST lab about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, sending a blast shield flying about 25 feet, indicating a powerful explosion.

As News4's Jackie Bensen was first to report, Montgomery County Police are investigating whether the explosion was related to a small-scale drug operation.

"We are looking at the possibility that this was some sort of chemical reaction due to the manufacturing of drugs," Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks said.

Federal law enforcement sources told News4 that pseudoephedrine, drain opener and a recipe for methamphetamine were found inside NIST Building 236 and that a NIST officer was found with burns to his hands and arms.

NIST Building 236 was previously used for combustion research but is now used for scientific research, Port told the AP. The Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating the case jointly with the MCPD.

No charges have been filed against the NIST officer as of Tuesday evening.

NIST, a federal entity that's part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, employs about 3,000 scientists, engineers and others on a 578-acre campus about 15 miles north of Washington, D.C.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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