North Hollywood: On March 29, 2001, Detectives assigned to the Narcotics Division, Clandestine Lab Squad received information regarding a possible methamphetamine producing laboratory in an apartment located on the 7500 block of Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood. Detectives responded to the location, established a surveillance, and observed activity consistent with a possible pill-crunching operation. In addition, Detectives smelled the strong chemical odor associated with highly volatile solvents used in methamphetamine production.
A suspect seen leaving the location was stopped and searched pursuant to the developing narcotics investigation. A subsequent search of the suspect’s vehicle uncovered chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The suspect also had evidence linking him to two additional locations (an adjacent apartment and a remote location) suspected to be part of the methamphetamine lab operations. Detectives then obtained a search warrant for all three locations.
Detectives searched the original apartment location and recovered some extracted ephedrine, a 32-gallon trash can with approximately 10 gallons of solution mixture, and other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Detectives estimate the operation was capable of producing enough ephedrine to manufacture approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine. Five occupants found in this apartment were arrested and taken into custody. The occupants of the apartment were identified as Horacio Rodriguez, 30 years of age, Sara Rivera, 34 years of age, Jaime Gonzalez, 20 years of age, Samuel Rivera, 26 years of age and a six month-old female juvenile.
Detectives searched the adjacent apartment and recovered a small amount of methamphetamine, an AK-47 assault rifle, two handguns and 5 gallons of a flammable solvent used to manufacture methamphetamine. A suspect found in the second apartment, Norberto Lopez, 30 years of age, was arrested and taken into custody. Detectives searched the third location, that is located on the 700 block of W. Century Boulevard, and discovered a pseudoephedrine pill-crunching lab. Detectives estimate the lab at the location was capable of producing 15 to 25 pounds of ephedrine. No arrests were made at the third location, which appeared to be an ephedrine cook site only.
All defendants were arrested pursuant to Section 11379.6 of the Health and Safety Code (Manufacturing Methamphetamine) and booked at Van Nuys jail. Bail was set at $500,000.00. Defendants Horacio Rodriguez and Sara Rivera were also booked pursuant to Section 273(A) of the Penal Code (Child Endangering). The six-month-old child was placed into protective custody under Section 300(B) of the Welfare and Institutions Code and turned over to the Department of Children’s Services.
Detective R. Gutierrez, of the Narcotics Division, Clandestine Lab Squad is conducting the investigation.
This press release was prepared by Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.