MAGNOLIA- Opportunistic illegal drug manufacturers found a place to make themselves at home and cook methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or ecstacy, with someone else picking up the tab for their lab.
Lady Luck was on their side… temporarily
The group set up shop in a mobile home in a clean family oriented park in Magnolia, where one of the structures was no longer inhabited because of damage from Hurricane Ike, but still had electricity, according to Lt. Philip Cash with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit.
The trailer, located in the 29700 block of Tilbury Ct., was also surrounded by a fence, lending privacy and allowing them to lock up when they left.
Cash said although MDMA is chemically similar to methamphetamine, the smell is not nearly as strong because it does not require ether or ammonia, which also worked in their favor because the chemical odor did not alert area residents.
There was no evidence anyone slept in the mobile home, but simply used it as a lab.
A fly in the ointment
The owner wised up when he received a high electric bill on what was supposed to be a vacant dwelling. He went to investigate and quickly learned he was paying to house what appeared to be a clandestine drug lab, so he contacted the District 4 Patrol Division of the MCSO, who called for SIU. They were assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Methamphetamine Initiative Group and a DEA Hazmat contractor.
The Hazmat tem removed the dangerous MDMA lab components and investigators recovered about 5.6 kilograms of possible MDMA, in liquid form.
They also recovered a receipt for 1,000 ml round bottom flask, along 3 jugs of solvents. They removed bases and syringes, as well.
Ecstasy pills sell for $5 to $20 each. It is not known how many were already produced in the dwelling and sold on the street, but Cash said the operation was indirectly linked to the infamous cartels and connected with a site in Houston and recent incidents in Montgomery County.
No arrests were made at the scene, because no one was there, but three suspects were identified.
They were otherwise detained
The three suspects are currently incarcerated. One is in the Harris County Jail and the other two are in separate correctional facilities in Louisiana, giving investigators more time to examine evidence forensically.
Cash said the MDMA lab was the first of its kind he has dealt with in Montgomery County and was only aware of a few in Houston.
The suspects’ names were not released.