Drug Enforcement Administration

New England

Brian D. Boyle , Special Agent in Charge

February 19, 2015

Contact: SA Timothy Desmond

Phone Number: (617) 557-2100

Meth Lab Dismantled In Cranston, Two Detained In Federal Custody

Cranston Police, DEA investigation results in the discovery and dismantling of a meth lab in a Cranston housing complex

(PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Michael J. Ferguson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael J. Winquist announced that Nicholas Selser, 33, and Michael Fortes, 48, of Cranston, have been ordered detained in federal custody on charges that they allegedly manufactured methamphetamine inside their apartment at the Devan Manor housing complex in Cranston.

According to court documents, Cranston Police, the DEA Drug Task Force and the DEA Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team of New Hampshire executed a court authorized search of the defendants’ apartment on Wednesday, and seized various chemicals, supplies and items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The manufacture of methamphetamine is often times a dangerous process which may result in explosion or fire. The Devan Manor housing complex is a densely populated complex which includes a substantial number of elderly residents.

According to court documents, during the execution of the warrant, evidence was found indicating that methamphetamine had been manufactured approximately eleven times on prior occasions using the “one pot” method of methamphetamine manufacture. The “one pot” or “shake and bake” method is a simple but potentially very dangerous method of manufacturing methamphetamine in approximately one hour. 

The “one pot” method uses an empty container to combine ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, camping fuel or some other ether product, sulfuric acid, ammonia nitrate powder, lithium strips from batteries, and lye or some other sodium hydroxide product with water to produce liquid methamphetamine. The methamphetamine liquid is poured off, leaving waste byproduct. The liquid is then gassed off, producing methamphetamine. The containers will often leak dangerous chemicals because the containers cannot always withstand the pressure produced by the chemical reactions. The “one pot” method is also prone to cause fires and can sometimes cause explosions.

Nicholas Selser and Michael Fortes are charged with one count each of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine; manufacture of methamphetamine; possession of precursor chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine; and possession of equipment, products and material which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

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