Trop fire leads to ‘make-shift meth lab’ and arrest

A fire inside an Atlantic City casino led to the discovery of a “make-shift meth lab” and the arrest of an Ocean County man, police said.
The fire broke out just before 10 a.m. in a room on the 44th floor of Tropicana Atlantic City’s West Tower.
Several floors had to be evacuated due to the smoke.
Police were called to the scene after firefighters found a meth lab, Sgt. Kevin Fair said. The New Jersey State Police Hazardous Material Response Unit responded to the scene and dismantled the lab.
No one was found in the room, but Tropicana surveillance officers found video footage showing the occupants flee before the arrival of security and first responders, Fair said.
Detectives of the Special Investigations Section were able to quickly identify the two males and one female.
Officers Latray Butcher and Branden Vongsasombath found the three at about 9:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of Pacific Avenue.
They were taken into custody without incident.
One of the men, Michael Pillar, was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus for treatment of injuries sustained in the fire.
An investigation by Detectives Jaimee Moore and Garry Stowe led to charges against Pillar, who rented the room. The two other individuals were released with no charges.
Pillar, 49, of Whiting, is charged with maintaining a drug-production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief.
After his release from the hospital, Pillar was taken to the Atlantic County Justice Facility.