Cortland man arrested for meth lab explosion at his apartment

The City of Cortland Police Department (Photo: Provided)

Cortland police arrested a city man this afternoon for creating a one-pot lab that exploded Saturday in his 143 Madison Street apartment — the second meth lab to be discovered at the apartment building in four years.

Jason J. Hudson, 26, was arrested about 3 p.m. at 6 Park Street and was being questioned by a detective at about 4 p.m., said city police Lt. David Guerrera. 

The meth lab exploded inside a bathroom Saturday afternoon and blew the bathroom’s door off its hinges while a 63-year-old slept inside the apartment, according to the department. No one was injured in the explosion and the 63-year-old is not suspected in the case, according to police.

Charges are expected to be filed against Hudson within the next 24 hours, Guerrera said.

A previous meth lab was discovered at the apartment building on July 10, 2015, according to federal Drug Enforcement Administration statistics. The DEA maintains the National Clandestine Laboratory Register Data, a searchable map and registry of some of the locations across the nation indicated by police as a meth lab or a dump site for spent meth materials.

A property manager found the 2015 meth lab in Apartment 17’s freezer while doing an inspection after a tenant vacated, said city police Lt. David Guerrera. “It’s common for them to keep it (a meth lab) in the freezer because it’s a little less volatile,” Guerrera noted.

No arrests were made in that case, Guerrera said. The 2015 meth lab was found in Apt. 17 and Hudson is not a suspect in that case, he said.

The apartment where Saturday’s explosion took place is unoccupied while a certified cleaner makes the residence habitable again, said city Director of Code Enforcement and Deputy Fire Chief Bill Knickerbocker this afternoon.

“It’s vacant,” Knickerbocker said. “The folks have been displaced to another location.”

The building’s maintenance improved after the building was sold on Nov. 5, 2015, about four months after the first meth lab was discovered, noted Knickerbocker. Greg Magi sold the building to MCM Real Estate.

“Historically, over the years, just because of the bulk of people, it had its maintenance issues and they seem to have lessened recently,” Knickerbocker said. A property inspection this year turned up few issues, while an inspection in 2015 discovered an average amount of maintenance problems.