A dangerous drug “super lab” in the process of cooking over a half-a-million dollars worth of Methamphetamine was interrupted by drug agents late Monday in a Waterford neighborhood. Authorities arrested four people on federal drug charges and seized several weapons.
“It´s absolutely ridiculous to have a lab of this size in a densely populated neighborhood,” said Lieutenant Marvin Harper of the Stanislaus County Sheriff€™s Department. Drug agents dismantled an illegal lab capable of producing nearly one hundred pounds of Meth in the garage of a home in the 1200 block of Brigadoon Way around 10:00 p.m. Monday. “If this lab exploded, it would have affected several homes in that neighborhood – that€™s not even considering the toxic chemical cloud that it would produce,” said Harper.
Agents from the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency developed information about the illegal lab during an on-going investigation. When agents began surveillance of the home on Monday they could smell chemicals familiar to Meth production coming from the residence. “We were concerned about the safety of the neighborhood so we moved right in on the illegal lab,” said Harper.
Four men fled the home out a back door while agents were knocking on the front door. “They fled because they saw us coming on the surveillance cameras mounted in the front yard,” said Harper. Agents eventually captured all four men and booked them on federal drug manufacturing charges.
Inside the home agents found plastic containers filled with 60 lbs of Methamphetamine “in solution” and 15 lbs of ephedrine that had just been extracted from pseudo-ephedrine pills, said Harper. Agents also found five pounds of finished, pure Meth separated into one-pound bags. In total, the lab was finishing a cook of the illegal drug valued on the street at $585,000, according to agents.
Officials also seized 9 weapons found inside the home including a simulated Ingram Mac-10 9mm semi-automatic assault rifle. “Two handguns were left on a table in a room with the surveillance monitors,” said Harper.
Arrested in connection with the illegal lab were: Enrique Diaz, 28 of Modesto; Andres Ramirez, 19 of Calexico, Oscar Garcia, 33 (unknown hometown) and Efran Abraham Lopez, 18 of Modesto. All four suspects were booked on two federal counts of illegal drug manufacture and distribution.
Sheriff’s deputies and drug agents from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team (Cal-MMET) spent most of the early hours of Tuesday morning carefully dismantling the lab and collecting evidence.