Today, November 7, 2014, at approximately 1:00 A.M. the Long Beach Police and Fire Departments responded to a residence in the 4300 block of Maury Avenue in regards to a complaint of a strong chemical odor. The initial investigation at the scene led officers and firefighters to believe the smell was related to a possible clandestine laboratory. Officers quickly contained the scene and evacuated residents in the immediate area to ensure their safety during the investigation.
The Long Beach Police Department Drug Investigations Section responded along with the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT) Clandestine Laboratory Response Team. Long Beach Detectives wrote a search warrant for the property and upon entering the residence they discovered an active Phencyclidine (PCP) Laboratory. Several large drum containers containing PCP were located on the property.
The City of Long Beach Environmental Health Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team responded for recovery of the chemical waste.
Edwin Van, a 48-year-old resident of Long Beach, and Vernon Thomas, a 61-year-old resident of Long Beach, were located at the residence and arrested on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance. Both Van and Thomas were taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor chemical exposure prior to their booking. Van and Thomas are currently being held at the Long Beach City Jail, each with a bail amount of $75,000.
This investigation is a collaborative effort by LA IMPACT and the Long Beach Drug Investigations Section. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Clandestine laboratories are extremely dangerous and hazardous to your health. If you smell strong chemical odors or suspect there might be a clandestine laboratory in your area, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident who has not spoken to authorities is urged to contact Long Beach Drug Investigations Section at (562) 570-7221. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.