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Smoke Leads Firefighters to Drug Lab in Home

STANTON | Community News Focus

August 20, 1997|GEOFF BOUCHER

Smoke plumes rising from a Stanton house Tuesday led firefighters to a drug lab where noxious fumes and a smoldering fire forced the evacuation of nearby homes.

Neighbors of the single-story, stucco home in the 10300 block of Perdido Street saw white smoke rising from the roof about 9:20 a.m. and called authorities, said Lt. Ron Wilkerson of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Inside, firefighters found large plastic containers with a powdery white substance and a smoldering pillow left on top of cooking pots of chemicals, said Dennis Shell, spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.

The plumes seen by neighbors were a combination of smoke from the pillow and the toxic fumes of the cooking chemicals used to make methamphetamine, Shell said.

No one was at the home, and neighbors told investigators that a resident left when the smoke began, Wilkerson said. Neighbors were interviewed for leads on the home's occupants, who would face charges of manufacturing an illegal drug.

Agents seized about 10 pounds of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, Wilkerson said. The process involves volatile chemicals that can emit harmful fumes or explode, authorities said.

A special Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement team that specializes in hazardous materials and drug labs was called in for the cleanup.

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