Jovin Weinstock appears at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola...

Jovin Weinstock appears at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola in December 2019. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Long Beach man accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in his garage in 2019 insisted on his innocence Wednesday, calling the alleged clandestine operation "imaginary" as a judge sentenced him in another case.

"I committed no new crimes and was wrongfully arrested in 2019. The meth charges against me were all dropped because they were obviously baseless," Jovin Weinstock told acting state Supreme Court Justice William O'Brien.

On May 14, a different judge sentenced Weinstock to 364 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge in the case involving meth-related allegations.

That 2019 arrest meant Weinstock, now 42, had violated terms of a court diversion program he was in after his 2017 arrest on Long Beach's Boardwalk in which police said they seized a switchblade, gravity knife, stun gun and marijuana.

If Weinstock had successfully finished the Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison Program, it would have meant no prison time and a dismissal of charges that included a felony, according to his attorney, Mitchell Barnett.

Instead, O'Brien sentenced Weinstock on Wednesday to 1 to 3 years in prison in connection with the 2017 case.

The judge told the defendant, who appeared in the virtual court hearing from Nassau's jail, that he didn't have the power to fulfill his request to sentence him to a misdemeanor in the earlier case instead of a felony because of the deal Weinstock made years earlier in diversion court.

"My client did what was in his best interest. If there was no diversion case we both would have looked forward to going to trial," Barnett said of his client’s guilty plea in the alleged meth case.

The Mineola defense attorney said Weinstock already has finished his sentence in that case because he spent two years in Nassau’s jail awaiting trial, including during the pandemic. He also said his client will be eligible for parole in the 2017 case as soon as he arrives at an upstate prison because of his prior time in custody.

Police found Weinstock unconscious and injured on the lawn of his family’s West Beech Street home at about 8 a.m. on May 10, 2019, before arresting him on a felony reckless endangerment charge.

Law enforcement officials alleged Weinstock created "a grave risk of death" for neighbors by running a meth lab they said they uncovered in the home’s detached garage while trying to discover what had happened to him.

Police said a liquid was being heated in the garage lab and a chemical process appeared to be underway at the time of their emergency response, which led to the evacuation of nearby homes.

Long Beach and Nassau police responded, along with firefighters, the county Fire Marshal's Office, the State Police, FBI and DEA, with authorities also saying later that they "removed a substance" from the home after a search.

A grand jury later indicted Weinstock on felony and misdemeanor reckless endangerment counts along with other charges that included unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine.

Barnett said Weinstock is a state-licensed clinical laboratory technologist with a chemistry degree and had been making a dye — with instructions for doing so left on a nearby worktable — before becoming unconscious for an unknown reason.

Medical tests showed no drugs in Weinstock’s body and authorities found no meth on his client’s property, the attorney added.

Barnett said authorities seized approximately 200 to 250 over-the-counter pills containing pseudoephedrine in Weinstock's home, medication he acknowledged could be used in meth production but also said are pills many people keep in their homes.

The defense lawyer added that authorities found a chemical in the garage they claimed could have been explosive. But he said it was in a sealed bottle, is used in dye production and isn’t illegal to possess.

Nassau District Attorney's Office spokesman Brendan Brosh said in a statement Wednesday that Weinstock "imperiled dozens of neighbors and first responders by operating a lab with dangerous chemicals on his property."

He added: "It’s a miracle that no one was injured by the defendant’s reckless behavior."

Latest videos