Bakery Used As Cover For Illicit Drug Lab

April 6, 2001

"Bakery Used As Cover For Illicit Drug Lab"

Los Angeles – On Thursday, April 5, 2001 detectives assigned to Narcotics Division, clandestine lab squad received information regarding a possible methamphetamine laboratory at 1850 E. 58th Place in Newton Division. Detectives responded to the location to conduct a narcotics investigation. The Lab squad established surveillance at the location and observed several individuals in and out of the target location. The location was a large lot between two commercial businesses with several make shift shacks used as living and working areas. Detective’s information indicated that unknown suspects transported chemicals used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, to the location, earlier this date and suspects were still inside. A large delivery truck left the location earlier this date, was stopped and two suspects detained for investigation. The cargo area of the truck revealed lots of fresh bread products, doing business as "Zendejas Bakery". The suspects were evasive when questioned about the 58th Place location. The truck and contents were impounded and two suspects arrested for traffic warrants. During the surveillance, detectives observed a 55-gallon nalgene container, used in the separation process, in the methamphetamine manufacturing process, sitting on the ground within the yard. Detectives made other observations to form the opinion the location was being used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Detectives authored a search warrant for the location and submitted it to a judge at 1200 hrs. The warrant was eventually reviewed and signed by the judge at 1314 hrs. As the search warrant was being approved, several suspects exited the location with chemicals associated to methamphetamine. The suspects were stopped away from the location and taken into custody. A second vehicle would leave and stopped away from the location with money and contraband. Detectives served the warrant at 1410 hrs and secured the location at 1850 E. 58th Place. A fifteen-year-old male juvenile was taken into custody at the location during the search warrant service. The location was described as a fully operational methamphetamine lab and illicit bakery and bread manufacturing business. The bread operation was located amongst the dope manufacturing operation. Detectives also observed an illegal power connection, directly tied into Southern California Edison transmission lines. The illicit meth lab was capable of manufacturing between 15-25 pounds of methamphetamine at a time. Detectives discovered debris and waste indicating suspects have been at the site for some time. The meth lab was operating within an illegal bakery operation, doing business as "Zendejas Bakery". Detectives recovered receipts inside the location, documenting bread sales to several chain stores in the area. Detectives notified LA County Haz Mat, LA County Health Department and SCE security to respond and assist with the investigation.
The entire yard, including the cook site and bakery, was grossly contaminated with chemicals and filthy cooking utensils which posed a health risk to citizens who have purchased bread manufactured at the site. The LA County Health Department is coordinating information for a recall on bread products originating from the illicit bakery. Defendants were arrested for 11379.6 HS (manufacturing methamphetamine), bail has been set at $500,000.00, and were transported and booked at 77th Regional Jail. The juveniles were booked for 602WIC/11379.6 HS (Manufacturing Methamphetamine) transported and booked at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall.

Defendant 1 Zendejas, Jose DOB: 08-20-77 Bkg# 6830966
Defendant 2 Zendejas, Alejandro DOB: 12-07-50 Bkg# 6830965
Defendant 3 Hernandez-Rodriguez, Miguel DOB:10-21-7 Bkg# 6830991
Defendant 4 Rodriguez, Gerardo DOB: 04-04-75 Bkg# 6830990
Subject #1 Male juvenile 15 years old
Subject #2 Male juvenile 15 years old
This Press Release was prepared by Detective III Richard Gutierrez, OIC, Narcotics Division Lab Squad, 213-473-4812.