Long Islander pleads guilty to operating ‘Breaking Bad’-style drug lab in Ronkonkoma


Photo: Suffolk police investigating Quantitative Laboratories LLC in Ronkonkoma. (Credit: Newsday/ Steve Pfost)

An apparently aspiring Walter White pleaded guilty this week to running a Ronkonkoma drug lab that Suffolk County prosecutors likened to something out of “Breaking Bad.”

Matthew Leshinsky — whose LinkedIn bio lists him as the “Chief Scientific Officer” of a testing lab that does quantitative analysis of cannabis — copped a plea to a slew of criminal charges that include possession of a controlled substance, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material.

“The defendant was operating a “Breaking Bad”-style drug lab and tried to conceal it under the guise of a legitimate business,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement. “He then inadvertently turned himself in when he reported that a burglary occurred at that same business.”

“Breaking Bad” starred Bryan Cranston as White, a high school chemistry teacher who turned to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a former student following his lung cancer diagnosis. The popular crime drama ran on AMC from 2008 to 2013.

Leshinsky, of Farmingville, touted his own “passion for chemistry” in his online bio, but authorities contend it was a cover for cooking up drugs out of Quantitative Laboratories LLC in Ronkonkoma.

The 23-year-old Farmingville man was initially charged in June, when police responded to a 3:30 a.m. call of a break-in at 1850 Pond Road.  After finding broken glass at the entrance to the lab, police discovered what prosecutors called a “clandestine laboratory” that was involved in the production and preparation of methamphetamine and the hallucinogenic, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), along with other controlled substances.

After securing a search warrant, police said officers found more than 100 pieces of lab equipment and chemicals and solvents used to manufacture methamphetamine — along with $40,000 in cash, the hallucinogenic drug ecstasy, ketamine, methamphetamine and 55 plastic 20-gallon drums containing a “date-rape drug.”

After Leshinsky’s June 7 arrest, defense attorney David Besso called the $2.5 million bail amount set by County Court Judge Eric Sachs as “outrageous” and charged Suffolk police of illegally searching the property with drug-sniffing dogs.

“My client complained that he was being burglarized and next thing you know, the cops come in and decided that they’re going to bring in drug dogs without reasonable suspicion to do so,” Besso said at the time, according to Newsday

Leshinsky is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20.

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