According to a story in the Washington Times, on Wednesday October 27, 2010, police arrested two students for allegedly running a drug lab in their freshman dorm at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. A strange odor was reported to be coming from the room occupied by Charles Smith and John Perrone. Police found a cooler containing dry ice, a canister of carbon dioxide, ammonia, lighter fluid, and a turkey baster in the students' room. Authorities first suspected they discovered a meth lab but it was later determined to be a DMT lab. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a powerful hallucinogen that comes in the form of frozen crystals and can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Users of DMT typically mix the drug with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), because it will not be active when ingested without these MAOIs. It is likely that users of DMT do not have a prescription for MAOIs, which is another possible charge for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Both students are 18-year-old Massachusetts residents and were released to parental custody with the requirement that they wear electronic-monitoring ankle bracelets and work or go to school. They are also likely to face a disciplinary hearing by Georgetown University which may result in expulsion from school.
Manufacturing drugs is a major felony that may result in significant prison time. However, these cases may be difficult to prosecute. If the police did not find any actual drugs, that can only make an inference of how this equipment was to be used. Sometimes that inference may require a lot of suggestion from the prosecution. I once defended a woman charged with operating a meth lab because she owned a five-gallon bucket and a garden hose. While this case may not be as clear cut, it is still up to the government to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
I would also suggest that the students have their attorney present at any university disciplinary hearings, because that may be the difference between expulsion and being able to continue their studies.