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News Release
February 19, 2003

Explosion Leads to Seizure of Methamphetamine Laboratory

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), James M. Kasson, announced today that following an explosion at 437 Memphis Street in Fishtown, an active clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was discovered. As a result, six pounds of methamphetaime, ½ gallon of P2P, 30 pounds of a methamphetamine by-product called sludge and other chemicals related to the production of methamphetamine were seized.

The Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Administrative Unit received a call on Sunday night, February 16, 2003 between 8:00 and 8:30 regarding an explosion at 437 Memphis Street in Philadelphia. The explosion blew the roof off of a garage. The second floor of the building was being used for the production of methamphetamine. The drug was being manufactured in a large room and vented through the bathroom on the same floor. At the time of the explosion, the roof blew off the joist and then landed back on the building at an angle moving part of one wall of the building. The DEA Clandestine Laboratory Team arrived at the scene on Sunday evening. They confirmed that the building contained an active methamphetamine laboratory.

The property was secured by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) who fortified the building. DEA Clandestine Laboratory Team executed a Federal Search Warrant on Monday and Tuesday, February 17th and 18th at 437 Memphis Street to process the laboratory inside the building. Six pounds of methamphetamine was found along with ½ gallon of P2P, a gallon of mono-methylamine, 30 pounds of methamphetamine by-product called sludge, muriatic acid, scales and assorted glassware and utensils used for the manufacture of methamphetamine. No arrests have been made to date.

The building has been closed down and will be processed by L&I for possible demolition. This property is located in a residential area in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Methamphetamine laboratories of this type cause a great danger to the community. At the time of the explosion, the methamphetamine laboratory was operational and processing approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine, which sells for $10,000 a pound in Philadelphia. The laboratory itself is capable of producing upwards of 50 pounds of methamphetamine over a period of several days.

This case is continuing and will be handled by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, AUSAs Christine Sykes and Thomas Perricone.

Press Contact: DEA PIO Mary Vaira @ 215-861-3287, Photographic Opportunity @ 437 Memphis

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