Operation Running Waters Leads to Major PCP Arrests
Acting Special Agent in Charge John S. Fernandes of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, Ontario Police Department, Gardena Police Department, and Inglewood Police Department, today announced criminal charges against 28 individuals in the Central District of California for conspiracy to manufacture and sell PCP.
These individuals are violent career criminals who have extensive criminal records for narcotics trafficking, assault, and other violent crimes. This investigation also assisted the LAPD in the identification of a homicide suspect. In addition to the violence of many of the PCP manufacturers, the process of manufacturing PCP involves many dangerous chemicals. Some of the chemicals used include ether, which is highly flammable and explosive, sodium cyanide, and a lethal poison. Exposure to Sodium or Potassium Cyanide could be acutely toxic or deadly if cyanide gas is present. Phenyl magnesium bromide (PMB) is also commonly used during the manufacturing of PCP. PMB reacts violently when introduced to water. PCP manufacturers often store large quantities of these dangerous chemicals in residential neighborhoods without regard to the safety and welfare of their neighbors. Individuals manufacturing PCP have dumped the residue associated with their narcotics manufacturing in locations which are frequented by unknowing citizens. Innocent people exposed to these chemical dumps could possibly be seriously injured due to inhalation of the chemical fumes.
This investigation was spearheaded by the Southern California Drug Task Force, a Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), whose focus was the command and control elements of several southern California PCP manufacturing trade. The individuals involved in this organization have been responsible for the distribution of PCP throughout the United States along with its associated violence.
In addition to the activities in the Southern California area, this organization also had ties to Houston, Texas. While this investigation was being conducted, the DEA Houston Field Division conducted a parallel investigation. This investigation was assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Harris County Sheriff's Department and the United States Border Patrol. This investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 1 gallon of finished PCP, 20 gallons of codeine syrup and approximately $24,000. 14 people have been indicted in the Southern District of Texas, which includes 4 individuals living in the Southern California area.
The following individuals are presently in custody:
Bobby Thompson, 36
- Los Angeles, CA.
For more information, please contact the DEA Office of Public Affairs at (213) 621-6768.