Chemistry Grad Student Is Accused of Making Meth in Campus Science Lab After Professor's Tip to Police

Authorities say Jeremy Smalling came on police's radar after a professor noticed suspicious materials in an on-campus lab, according to reports

<p>Getty</p> A chemistry graduate student has been charged with four felonies


A chemistry graduate student has been charged with four felonies

A chemistry graduate research assistant at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is facing four felony charges after police allege he made methamphetamine on campus with an intent to sell it.

Jeremy Smalling, 45, is charged with aggravated unlawful participation in meth manufacturing, unlawful possession of meth with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of meth precursor and unlawful possession of a meth manufacturing material, according to online court records reviewed by PEOPLE.

Smalling had been a graduate research assistant at SIUE since August 2021 and was in his second year of SIUE's master program in chemistry, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Smalling came on police's radar when an SIUE professor noticed suspicious materials in the Science West building on campus during Thanksgiving break, Fox 2 News and The Edwardsville Intelligencer report, citing a probable cause affidavit. SIUE police began investigating and tracking Smalling after learning he and the professor who reported the disturbance were the only two people who accessed that building during the break, Fox 2 reports.

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Related: Real-Life 'Breaking Bad' : College Professors Accused of Making Meth in Campus Chemistry Lab

According to The Intelligencer, citing authorities, residue tested in a bowl and a beaker found in the lab on campus tested positive for chemicals used during the manufacturing of meth and/or byproducts of meth.

<p>Google Maps</p> Science West building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Google Maps

Science West building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Authorities began looking into a database that tracks pseudoephedrine purchases, Fox 2 reports, and discovered Smalling allegedly attempted to buy pseudoephedrine products 365 times in the last decade. 55 of the attempted purchases were in 2023.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), meth is commonly made with pseudoephedrine, which is an ingredient found in over-the-counter cold medications. In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which requires businesses to log pseudoephedrine purchases and limit the amount a person can purchase, per NIDA.

Related: 'Breaking Bad': Former New Mexico Science Teacher Admits to Manufacturing Methamphetamine

Smalling was blocked from purchasing the medication 45 times, Fox 2 reports, citing the probable cause affidavit, but authorities allege he was also making pseudoephedrine purchases in other Illinois cities.

After searching his vehicle, authorities allegedly found 12 grams of meth, The Intelligencer reports, and a search of his apartment allegedly revealed additional items used to make meth, including acetone, beakers, a hot plate and more.

SIUE and the attorney listed for Smalling did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Smalling is due in court Friday morning for a preliminary hearing.

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