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Multi-agency investigation into direct to consumer chemical lab in Old Saybrook

LabDirect LLC advertises that they store, sell and ship chemicals for amateur chemists

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. — 24 hours after a massive police investigation began, it continues in Old Saybrook where two explosions were heard early Thursday morning.

FOX61 has confirmed a multi-agency criminal investigation at LabsDirect LLC on Center West Road. It’s located in the industrial district of Old Saybrook. 

LabsDirectLLC stores sell and ship dangerous chemicals directly to consumers.

“Kind of crazy to hear about. Interesting, but crazy,” remarked Shea Contillo, who works at a nearby business.

The investigation began around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. By 9:00 a.m. Thursday, there were two loud controlled detonations of explosive chemical mixtures. 

“Kind of an interesting way to start my morning,” said Brad Boyd, a nearby business owner.

State records show the business was first organized in 2020 and is owned by this man, Richard Carboni of Waterford, whose LinkedIn profile said he’s, “democratizing the pursuit of science”. Carboni has been actively engaging with amateur chemists on online forums where he said he, “fell in love with chemistry just out of natural curiosity and exploration.”

LabDirect’s website lists hundreds of chemicals, metals and acids for sale. Many are highly toxic and potentially deadly such as cyanide, mercury, chloroform, and ammonium. 

“It was definitely surprising to see something that close happening right next to us,” said Contillo.

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No evacuations were necessary, but the road was blocked and some businesses were forced to close. 

“Today we’ve been closed. He said we can go back to work at noon but so far as you can see the road is still closed and they won’t let us in,” explained Mark Everin, who works at the business across the street.

Despite calling in federal and state resources, the Old Saybrook Police are leading the investigation and remain tight-lipped. 

Nearby business owners say they are intrigued to know more. 

“There’s been nothing that would indicate on the surface that there are any illegal or illicit things going on there. We don’t have odd people coming up and down the road,” said Boyd.

According to Carboni’s online posts, he went back to school for chemistry during the pandemic. His business started on eBay but quickly expanded to the warehouse.

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Lauren Zenzie is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lzenzie@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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