A Taco Bell manager was busted Tuesday for allegedly cooking meth at his Cedar Rapids, Iowa, workplace—where cops say they discovered Coleman fuel, lye, drain cleaner, and other ingredients for making the drug.
Police arrested Christopher Adam Matous, 31, and Kent Jerome Duby, 56, after a tipster reported a suspicious person outside the fast-food joint, which was closed, around 4:42 a.m. When officers arrived, Matous identified himself as an employee, authorities say.
Cops noticed a peeled lithium battery—typically used in meth manufacture—near Matous’s feet, and another Taco Bell manager allowed them to search the building sometime after. Inside, officers say they found a makeshift lab in the utility area, along with 1 to 2 grams of methamphetamine.
Matous reportedly told cops he was cooking meth for himself, so he could “stay high all the time.”
“We never found [a lab] in a restaurant or business like this,” Greg Buelow, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids Police Department, told The Daily Beast. “It was fairly unusual to have something like that occur.”
The Linn County attorney’s office charged Matous with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, and three counts of possession of meth precursors, The Gazette reported.
Meanwhile, county attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said there was insufficient evidence to charge Duby with conspiracy to manufacture meth, his original charge.
Since news broke of the arrests, Taco Bell patrons have been calling the Linn County Health Department to see if their food was contaminated. The restaurant has remained closed as experts conduct a cleanup of the site.
“Those who ate there before the incident wanted to make sure everything they ate was still safe and they were not exposed, saying, ‘I had a stomachache. Is it because of this mess?’” James Hodina, the country’s environmental manager, told The Daily Beast.
He added, “We don’t see any public health exposure here at this point.”
Hodina said it appeared this was Matous’s only stab at attempting to cook meth at the Taco Bell location and that it took place after business hours.
“It wasn’t going on when people were eating or when food was being prepared,” Hodina said. “All the chemicals were found back in a utility area where they stored other cleaning supplies.”
It appears Matous had keys to the Taco Bell. According to his Facebook page, he rose to the rank of assistant manager in April. He previously worked at a Denny’s in Missouri and a Sonic Drive-In in Keokuk, Iowa.
Social media shows he’s a father of young children and enjoys riding four-wheelers through the mud.
“I speak my mind and if u dont like it, then u know where to go!” Matous wrote on his Facebook profile. “I am not [a cheater]! I dont get mad i get even! Life is hard but life is also what you make of it. There are lesson’s to be learn everyday. They say if you ant learning then you are dying.”
His favorite quotes are: “Shit Happens!” and “It is what it is!”
In 2012, Matous posted pictures of himself and certificates showing a graduation from the Eighth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services’ drug court.