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Police, Welcomed Into House, Discover Loot, Major Drug Lab

September 29, 1987|LONN JOHNSTON | Times Staff Writer

Undercover Fullerton police officers seized automatic weapons, almost $100,000 in cash and jewels and arrested seven people after a small cocaine purchase led to the discovery of a major methamphetamine laboratory, police said Monday.

Detective Tom Basham, acting on a tip from a confidential informant, negotiated to buy half an ounce of cocaine last Thursday at a house in the 1800 block of Chelsea Drive, Detective Scott Camery said Monday. Officers followed a suspect from the Chelsea residence to a house at the corner of E and Vermont streets in Anaheim, watched her as she went into the house and then returned to the Chelsea address.

Police said they arrested at the Chelsea house, on charges of suspicion of possessing cocaine for sale: Kenneth Schollard, 53, of Costa Mesa and Tracey Ellis, 34, Michael Gilbertson, 25, and Farrell Ellis, 28, all of Anaheim.

An Anaheim police officers then joined Fullerton detectives at the Vermont Street house, where a resident who answered the door allowed officers inside, Camery said. The resident, who rented a room at the house, was not arrested.

In a search of the house, police found cocaine, scales and other drug-dealing paraphernalia and arrested Donald Charett, 32, who lived at the house, and Antonio Contreras, 18, of Orange, who arrived during the search. Both were booked on suspicion of possessing cocaine for sale, Camery said.

Police also seized 20 firearms, cash--including $40,000 hidden in a pinball machine--and $25,000 in jewelry, Camery said.

Officers who approached a shed behind the house used a chemical spray to subdue two Doberman pinscher guard dogs.

Armed with a search warrant, police entered the shed and in a back room found a methamphetamine laboratory capable of producing three to five pounds of the drug a day, Camery said.

About $180,000 worth of finished methamphetamine and chemicals used to manufacture the drug were also found, he added.

Alfred Escobosa, 48, who owned the Vermont Street property, was found hiding beneath the shed, Camery said, and was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine for sale, possession of cocaine for sale and possession of stolen property.

"We don't know how long the lab was going, but he (Escobosa) seemed to have connections all around the country," Camery said. "It was an incredible amount of stuff we found there."

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