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BYU student accused of having meth lab claims it was soap


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PROVO — Was it soap or meth?

Provo police say they are sure that what they found in the Riviera Apartments next to the BYU campus over the weekend was a meth lab and not a soap-making operation.

"What gives this away that it was a meth lab is the fact it's a meth lab," said Provo Police Sgt. Brandon Post.

Wednesday, 21-year-old Bryce Cazier surrendered to police. An arrest warrant was issued for Cazier on Tuesday, charging him in 4th District Court with having precursors or equipment for a clandestine laboratory, a first-degree felony. He was booked into the Utah County Jail just after 11:30 a.m.

His attorney, Jere Reneer, said his client was never on the run. But there was a glitch in communication because of the Veterans Day holiday on Tuesday when most law offices were closed.

"This isn't 'Breaking Bad' on the run. This is a kid that had legitimate hobbies that his roommates were aware of, that didn't have enough concern through the time he was there to do anything about it. Not even enough concern after there was a fire in his room," Reneer said.


What gives this away that it was a meth lab is the fact it's a meth lab.

–Provo Police Sgt. Brandon Post


On Thursday, Cazier and two roommates were at their apartment, 1505 N. Canyon Road, and detected smoke coming from behind Cazier's room. Cazier has his own room, which he always keeps locked, according to roommates.

Cazier told his roommates that the fire was caused by some rubbing alcohol he spilled without realizing it. But when Cazier left the apartment the next day to go to Salt Lake City, his roommates picked the lock to his room and found suspicious glassware and chemicals.

By Saturday, a full investigation was being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Investigators were not able to find or directly talk to Cazier since the incident.

Reneer, however, said that his client likes making his own products, like soap, using herbal extracts.

"Bryce is a kid, clearly upon talking to him, into making stuff, chemistry, kind of an erector set kind of thing. 'I load my own bullets, tie my own flies.' He's kind of into that process," Reneer said. "I know that the same chemicals used to make meth are same ones you use to crystallize these herbal extractions, which is a totally legitimate thing."

Post said some of those items were also found in Cazier's room, but so was a meth lab. He said experienced DEA agents went through the materials in the room for hours.

"It was a meth lab. It was not a soap-making operation," he said Wednesday.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the arrest warrant, investigators found "empty blister packs of nasal decongestant," lithium, "a blender with a white powdery substance," in addition to glassware, digital scales and "numerous" unknown liquids and powders that were still being tested as of Wednesday.


This isn't 'Breaking Bad' on the run. This is a kid that had legitimate hobbies that his roommates were aware of, that didn't have enough concern through the time he was there to do anything about it. Not even enough concern after there was a fire in his room.

–Jere Reneer, attorney


"Along with these items were pieces of correspondence to Bryce Cazier," the affidavit states without going into detail.

Reneer said he had not seen what evidence investigators have collected. But now he said the legal process can begin.

"I can see where it's a big news story to say 'meth lab and BYU' over and over, certainly would pique attention and is perfect for the press. But we just want to bring it back to ground zero, which is there's due process here," he said. "As soon as my client found out about (the DEA investigation), his family stepped up and they did what you do, you hire an attorney and wait to get the due process going. And now it's going,"

Cazier's Facebook page says the Brigham Young University student is currently studying Spanish. He is originally from Kennewick, Washington, and served an LDS mission. Some of his Facebook posts include quotes from the Book of Mormon, members of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other church authorities.

Cazier has a page on mormon.org as part of the "and I'm a Mormon" campaign. It was apparently written while he was serving an LDS mission in Wisconsin. In the profile, he says he enjoys doing volunteer work with children who have been through "damaging experiences in their lives" such as drug abuse.

He also wrote, "Two of my brothers were convicted and sent to prison during elementary school, and many members of my family fell away to drug abuse," according to the profile.

Bail for Cazier was set at $50,000, according to his arrest warrant.

Video Contributor: Nicole Vowell

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