Man sentenced in meth-from-urine mishap
There was a scientific method to Daniel Zeiszler's madness when he tried to extract methamphetamine from his own urine, after smoking the illegal street drug last September in his South San Francisco hotel room.
But Zeiszler's experiment went dangerously awry when he spilled some solvent on himself, then lit a cigarette while he contemplated his next move, starting a fire that burned his right hand and arm.
The hotel was evacuated. Firefighters were summoned. So were hazardous materials experts.
Zeiszler, a 22-year-old employee of a San Francisco recycling depot, landed in jail.
Zeiszler, who pleaded no contest to a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine in November, was sentenced Friday to five months in prison -- with credit for time served -- and three years' probation by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles.
"Did you know you can get methamphetamine from urine?" asked an incredulous Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County chief deputy district attorney, in an interview after the sentencing. "The methodology this guy used would work, but it would take bottles and bottles of urine -- not one void of a bladder."
Make that gallons of urine, said William Johnston, Zeiszler's attorney, who described his client's attempt to reclaim excreted methamphetamine from his urine as a "really, really silly" move.
Methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant that produces an intense rush, can also cause convulsions, strokes, stomach cramps, shaking, cardiac arrhythmia and a dangerous rise in body temperature.
"I suspect that, more than anything, Steve was doing this as an intellectual proposition," said Johnston, adding that Zeiszler had no record of prior arrests. "He is a bright, articulate young man who was wasting his life playing around with this stuff. Anybody who would -- for fun -- read a chemistry text should be in school instead of sitting in San Mateo County Jail."
Which is exactly where he intends to be after he is released, Zeiszler told the judge at his sentencing.