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Bust Yields 20 Gallons of PCP; 2 Men Held in O.C.

July 11, 2006|Garrett Therolf | Times Staff Writer

Federal authorities announced Monday they had arrested two men they said were among the largest producers of PCP in Southern California history.

The two were in possession of 20 gallons of the hallucinogen, amounting to at least 768,000 doses, Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Sarah Pullen said.

Taylor Wright, 38, and Clifford Oliver, 36, were being held at Orange County Jail on suspicion of conspiring to manufacture PCP with the intent of selling it, authorities said.

On July 4, a maintenance worker at the Laurel Terrace apartments in Ladera Ranch near Mission Viejo noticed a strong odor coming from Wright's garage, according to an affidavit by David Mertus, the DEA agent in charge of the investigation. The worker called the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which found the amber-colored narcotic stored in apple juice containers, Mertus said in the affidavit.

Authorities put Wright under surveillance, tracking him from a July 6 court appearance in Laguna Niguel, on a prior PCP possession arrest, to Oliver's Hawthorne apartment.

There they found more PCP in a storage locker, Mertus' affidavit said.

The two men were later arrested.

Oliver, in his arraignment Monday in Santa Ana, was ordered detained without bail by U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato. Wright is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Pullen said it had not yet been determined how the suspects allegedly obtained the key ingredient for PCP, piperidine, which requires a DEA registration number.

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