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$12.2-Million PCP Bust Called O.C.'s Biggest

June 07, 2005|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

A foul odor from a garage in a Ladera Ranch apartment complex led authorities to what they described as the largest seizure of PCP ever made in Orange County.

Sheriff's deputies seized 8 gallons of the hallucinogen, valued at $12.2 million, Saturday from a garage allegedly used by Taylor Winston Wright, 37, who escaped from deputies after handing them his driver's license, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said Monday.

"Eight gallons and 8 ounces had been manufactured, and there were chemicals in the garage to make some more. We also found a vehicle that was reported stolen in Los Angeles County," he said.

The suspected PCP lab was in an apartment complex near a learning center for preschoolers.

Neighbors called the Orange County Fire Authority about noon Saturday to report an odor coming from a garage at the Laurel Terrace Apartments at 2000 Corporate Drive, Amormino said. The garage was assigned to Unit 232, where authorities said they found Wright.

Deputies had gone "to the house to confront the suspect," Amormino said. "He handed the deputies his ID and then bolted out the house. The deputies chased him down a canyon but lost him. Mr. Wright is a fugitive."

Wright is wanted on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing PCP for sale. The drug -- also known by its scientific name, phencyclidine -- is a liquid usually smoked through cigarettes dipped in it.

The company that manages the Laurel Terrace Apartments declined to comment.

Amormino said deputies were surprised to find a PCP lab in Ladera Ranch, a master-planned community east of Mission Viejo touted as the national blueprint for a new suburban lifestyle. Million-dollar homes are common, and town houses sell for $750,000 or more.

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