The Manhattan Meth Lab Was Only Cooking (Legal) Bath Salts, Apparently

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About that Manhattan apartment where a police raid Monday had people calling it a midtown meth lab: Turns out the place belonged to someone who was just making bath salts, reports NBC New York — the not-so-bad kind of bath salts. "A law enforcement source said early Tuesday that the investigation found a man in the apartment was manufacturing legal bath salts. No charges were filed and police said the investigation revealed no criminality," report NBC's Shimon Prokupecz and Jonathan Dienst. What, exactly, are "legal bath salts," you ask? Like, for the bathtub?

We're quite familiar with illegal bath salts. It's illegal in New York to possess synthetic drugs — including bath salts — and the state has a pretty expansive list of banned drugs and ingredients. So if NBC's police source is solid, the cook in Manhattan doesn't seem to be producing those crazy bath salts that everybody and their mother (and even the Navy) are so worried about.

Which is a lot different from the story that emerged late Monday, of someone stupid enough to go full-on Breaking Bad with a crystal-meth factory in the middle of New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. But that was all based on complaints from neighbors and an "inconclusive" investigation. Earlier this morning, the story had changed a bit, with The New York Post's Kevin Sheehan and Natasha Velez reportin that "police raided a West 54th Street co-op and found pounds of the illegal designer drug 'bath salts.'"

Either way, the neighbors of the bath-salt maker did complain of toxic smells that caused eye irritation and that the apartment reeked of cat urine — all of which could be totally legal, which could be the totally disturbing reality of this otherwise cooked-up story..

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.