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HUNTINGTON BEACH : 'Huge Seizure' Made at Makeshift Drug Lab

September 02, 1995|TINA NGUYEN

Sheriff's narcotics investigators raided a rental storage unit, where they found a makeshift methamphetamine lab capable of producing up to $450,000 worth of drugs a week, officials said Friday.

Investigators earlier this week arrested three suspects, Lynell Rene Barnhart, 21, of Buena Park; Richard Edmund Martinez, 35, of Huntington Beach; and Gregory Clell Courdy, 26, of Cypress, Sheriff's Lt. Ron Wilkerson said.

All three were booked at Orange County Jail on charges of weapons violations, possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of over-the-counter drugs for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Inside a 5-by-6-foot storage unit on McFadden Avenue, authorities Thursday found lockers filled with buckets, other kinds of equipment and containers of chemicals that are used to process a clear, crystalline form of the drug called "ice" methamphetamine, Wilkerson said.

"The narcotics investigators were able to determine by the amount of chemicals found and through a scale system they use that up to 15 pounds of methamphetamine could be produced there per week," said Wilkerson, who added that that maximum production rate is equivalent to about 45,000 doses a week.

"This was a huge seizure," Wilkerson said.

Investigators arrested Barnhart and Martinez at a Huntington Beach motel, where five ounces of ice methamphetamine, a dagger and a .22-caliber rifle were seized, Wilkerson said.

The arrests led investigators to the lab and Courdy's home, where they seized 50,000 tablets of an over-the-counter diet pill that is mixed with the chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine, Wilkerson said.

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