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Accused ‘mobile meth lab’ operator tells his story from Henrico jail

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- James Kent Booth is the man Henrico police arrested Thursday for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine.

Friday afternoon, in a jailhouse interview, he told CBS 6 it wasn't actually his backpack police found with all the ingredients used to make the illegal and highly addictive drug. He did, however, acknowledge a bigger problem.

When asked if he has ever done meth before, he replied, “Yes."

But Booth insisted he was out looking for scrap metal Thursday, not trying to manufacture meth, which is what police say he was doing  off Branch Road in the northwestern part of Henrico County.

"I'm going to get fried for something I didn't do," he said.

Booth said his girlfriend found a backpack behind a jersey wall in a cul-de-sac with some clothes and brought it to the pick-up truck he had borrowed from his son.

"They opened the bag and everyone went crazy,” Booth said. “I thought it was a bomb or something."

It wasn’t a bomb but definitely something that had the potential to explode, according to police. They geared up in full protective suits to discard a dangerous substance known as ‘clandestine methamphetamine.’

He also made an explosive claim about mobile meth labs in the area, specifically whether there were more that police didn't know about.

“They're everywhere," he said.

State police and firefighters covered in special suits spent the better part of six hours cleaning up the components of the mobile lab.

Booth sounded apologetic about the fallout for his son, who stands to lose his truck.  He also said he's been beaten down by the loss of his wife.

"I can't catch a break anywhere, can't get a job with this stuff on my record,” he said. “I try to get away and it pulls me right back. A vicious cycle? Yes!  I don't want to go back but feel I'm forced to."

Booth has a court appointed attorney and is due back in court on May 17.