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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Arcadia : Drug Lab Found at Motel

September 05, 1993

For the fourth time in a year, police last week discovered a drug-manufacturing laboratory at a motel on Colorado Place.

Police raided a room at Best Western Motel, 161 Colorado Place, at 11:30 p.m. Aug. 29, uncovering a methamphetamine laboratory, Capt. David Hinig said.

Bernice Caroline Kau, 23, an occupant of the room, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of manufacturing and selling a controlled substance, said the district attorney's office. Kau, a Glendora resident, is scheduled to enter a plea at a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Methamphetamine labs were also found at the hotel in September and November, 1992, and May, 1993, police said. In the past year, only two drug laboratories have been discovered elsewhere in the city, Hinig said.

"We are having discussions with the motel owner to try to identify how this kind of clandestine lab has proliferated at Best Western," Hinig said.

Hinig said the chemicals involved in the manufacture of such drugs are very hazardous, and one laboratory was discovered after it ignited a fire at the motel. A hazardous-materials team was called in to clean up chemicals after last Sunday's raid.

"Drug dealers are at other hotels, but the police just have not discovered them," said Lai (Charles) Zhu, the motel's owner. "These drug dealers are just like cockroaches. They get in everywhere."

Zhu said he has cooperated with the police and exercises discretion when renting rooms. He said as a precaution he now evicts guests who get an unusual high volume of telephone calls or refuse maid service for more than two or three days.

He said he has a financial incentive to keep drug dealers out of his motel. Zhu has had to pay $2,000 to $3,000 for the cleanup of the hazardous materials left after each laboratory was discovered by police.

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