DORAVILLE - A Lawrenceville man was being held Thursday at the Doraville jail, a day after he was arrested on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine in his car while he was driving.
Thomas Christian Johns, 30, was pulled over Wednesday morning on Interstate 285 between Buford Highway and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard after a Doraville police officer noticed Johns wasn't wearing a seat belt, Doraville Police Department spokesman Gene Callaway said.
"As she approached the vehicle, she smelled a distinct odor of chemicals," Callaway said.
The officer also saw several wires coming out of the dash of the green Acura Integra, Callaway said.
After running a check on Johns, the officer learned he had an outstanding warrant on a traffic violation in Gwinnett County, Callaway said.
The officer, who works in the Doraville Police Department's K-9 unit, asked Johns if she could search his car. When he denied consent, the officer retrieved K-9 officer Dak from her car.
Dak, who is trained to find marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth, performed an open-air search around the vehicle and alerted to drugs, Callaway said.
The officer searched the vehicle and found a Playmate cooler containing production materials for meth, Callaway said. She then contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA found Johns was manufacturing meth inside the vehicle, Callaway said. Johns also had street-ready product inside the vehicle, he said.
"It was an extremely dangerous situation because if the chemical process (of manufacturing meth) should become breached, it could create a three-foot flame ... (that) could have created a fireball inside the Integra," Callaway said.
Johns is being held in the jail on charges of unlawful manufacturing and delivery of an uncontrolled substance, driving with a suspended license and not being properly restrained with a seat belt, a jail spokesman said.