A Long Beach man created "a grave risk of death" for neighbors by running a clandestine meth lab out of his detached garage, authorities alleged Thursday at his hospital arraignment on a felony charge.
Jovin Weinstock, 40, pleaded not guilty to first-degree reckless endangerment from a hospital bed nearly a week after authorities found him on May 10 unconscious and injured on his West Beech Street lawn.
Law enforcement officials said they uncovered the illicit drug operation while trying to figure out what happened to him.
But the alleged meth operation isn't Weinstock's first brush with the law, court records showed Thursday.
For several months, Weinstock has been in a diversion program for substance abusers who commit felonies, his attorney, Mitchell Barnett confirmed.
His involvement in that program followed his arrest on the city's Boardwalk nearly two years ago on weapon and drug charges after a 2015 conviction for aggravated driving while intoxicated, court documents show.
The records also indicate that on May 9, Weinstock appeared before a Nassau County Court judge as part of the program — under which he previously pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor weapon charge.
In that case, Long Beach police arrested Weinstock on the evening of July 3, 2017 after allegedly finding him with at least one switchblade, a gravity knife, a stun gun and marijuana.
Records show the judge hasn't yet sentenced him in that case, and that he's part of the Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison Program.
A state website says participants receive drug treatment for up to two years after a felony guilty plea. A judge then dismisses the charges of those who finish the program, or a warrant enforcement team brings those who fail back to court and they get prison time.
Long Beach City Court Judge Corey Klein remanded Weinstock into law enforcement custody Thursday during his arraignment at South Nassau Communities Hospital, court officials said.
Barnett said he reserved Weinstock’s right to seek bail in the future, and didn't argue Thursday for his client's release.
The Mineola attorney said Weinstock had been on a ventilator until two days ago during his continued hospitalization.
Barnett also said the defense has to do its own investigation into what happened at Weinstock’s house and whether what was going on was illegal.
Prosecutors declined to comment Thursday on the new case or Weinstock's involvement in the diversion program.
The new felony charge says Weinstock, by running the alleged meth lab, put the lives of neighbors who live within 100 feet at risk with an operation involving numerous hazardous and explosive chemicals.
Police have said there was a liquid being heated in the lab and a chemical process appeared to be underway at the time of their emergency response, which also led to an evacuation of surrounding homes.
Authorities also said they dismantled the lab and seized a very large quantity of chemicals, lab equipment and electronic devices from the home.
Some neighbors previously described Weinstock, a licensed clinical laboratory technologist, as a brilliant person with a penchant for science. Another said he worked as a glassblower.
He’s due in court May 24.