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News Release [print friendly page]
October 22, 2001
Contact: Special Agent Donald Thornill, (858) 616-4166


photo of precursor chemicals
Containers of precursor chemicals seized during Operation Triple X.



photo of highly toxic chemicals
These chemicals are highly toxic and pose a contamination threat to the community and the environment.



photo of seized money
Agents seized over $400,000 in U.S currency. Forfeited assets are used to purchase new equipment and conduct counter-drug operations.

On October 18 and 19, 2001, DEA agents, primarily from the San Diego Division, successfully completed Operation Triple X. The action dismantled a major methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) drug lab in Escondido, California. During the two-day takedown, 20 people were arrested for their participation in the trafficking organization that was capable of producing millions of Ecstasy tablets. Operation Triple X got its name from the “XXX” logo imprinted on some of the Ecstasy tablets produced by the organization.

The success of the operation was the result of tremendous assistance provided by numerous DEA field offices throughout the country, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies that provided intelligence and support.

Seizures During Operation Triple X
  • 48,000 Ecstasy Tablets
  • 1 pound methamphetamine
  • 48 kilos of 3,4-Propene (could produce 500,000 ecstasy tablets)
  • 700 pounds of Camphor oil (could produce one million ecstasy tablets)
  • 45 gallons of GBL (used to produce GHB)
  • Many other precursor chemicals and laboratory equipment
  • $429,000 in U.S. currency
  • 15 weapons

List of Defendants

Alba, Dennis, arrested at Escondido, CA lab site
Forrester, Mark, arrested 10/19
Walters, Donald, arrested 10/19 in New York, NY
Bowen, Dean, arrested 10/19 in Santa Monica, CA
Wada, David, arrested 10/19 in Pismo Beach, CA
Hernandez, Israel, arrested 10/18 at Escondido, CA lab site
Hernandez, Rafael, arrested 10/18 in San Diego, CA
Forrester, Walter, arrested 10/19 in Hemet, CA
Tamez, Karl, arrested 10/19 in Hemet, CA
Chavez, Juan, arrested 10/18 in Escondido, CA
Cutler, Kenneth, arrested 10/19 in Camden, NJ
LeBlanc, Theodore, arrested 10/19 in Costa Mesa, CA
Galanis, Derek, arrested 10/19 in Del Mar, CA
Huson, Hobart, arrested 10/19 in Houston, TX
Ortega, Laura, arrested 10/19 at Escondido, CA lab site
Aarhus, Lisa, arrested 10/19
Litteral, Aaron, arrested 10/18 at Escondido, CA lab site
Chapman, Brian, arrested 10/19 in San Francisco, CA
Galanis, Jason, arrested 10/19 in Beverly Hills, CA
Gomez, Martin, arrested 10/19 in Chula Vista, CA

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