A senior biochemist at Merck was arrested last week and charged with running a drug lab at his home, authorities announced.
Kurt Romondt, a 44-year-old from Springfield, N.J., was arrested after receiving a large shipment of a chemical commonly used to synthesize GHB, said Grace H. Park, the Union County Prosecutor.
A search of Romondt’s home on June 18 turned up 2,745 grams of gamma butyrolactone, which is used to synthesize GHB, in addition to 300 milliliters of GHB, said the prosecutor. Also found in the home was a scale and equipment to process and produce the drug, authorities allege.
Romondt is a senior scientist at Merck, authorities said.
GHB is used as a recreation drug in small amounts, when it can act as a stimulant, according to the prosecutor’s office. At larger quantities, it has been used as a date-rape drug.
Romondt is charged with first-degree maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, second-degree possession of GHB with the intent to distribute, and an additional third-degree drug charge, authorities said. The first-degree charge is punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison.
Romondt is being held at Union County Jail on $200,000 bail. County corrections officials confirmed that Romondt made his first court appearance today – but did not have any attorney of record listed in court records.
The investigation was a joint operation involving the county’s Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force, in addition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and local police.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery