Seven men were recently arrested after investigators seized nearly $5 million worth of chemicals, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana from two Riverside homes, officials said Friday.
Six of the men, ages 22 to 51, faced possible drug charges while the seventh was being held for questioning in connection to “an ongoing murder probe out of Sacramento,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stated in a news release.
The arrests were made after the department’s Homeland Security Investigations division executed state search warrants Thursday at three residences, one of which contained enough liquid methamphetamine to make 250 pounds of crystal meth.
“There’s no question this seizure has dealt a significant blow to the criminal organization behind this drug trafficking scheme,” special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles Claude Arnold said. “Methamphetamine is a powerful drug that devastates entire communities. By keeping this dangerous contraband from reaching our streets, we’ve potentially saved untold lives.”
Investigators also recovered equipment consistent with a drug manufacturing operation in the home, located in the 19000 block of White Dove Lane (map), including two propane tanks hooked up to a makeshift stove for “cooking” the liquid meth and several freezers in an upstairs bedroom for use in completing the crystallization process.
The current street value for crystal meth is about $1,000, according to the news release.
About $1 million worth of processed marijuana, or 230 pounds, was found at a second home, located in the 17000 block of Twin Lakes Drive (map).
Four firearms, including a stolen rifle; $70,000 in cash and 300 marijuana plants were also found.
All of the men were originally from Mexico and preliminary evidence suggested the methamphetamine had been smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico in liquid form before being converted into its crystalized form at the drug lab.
HSI was assisted by the Regional Narcotic Enforcement Team, the Riverside and Fontana police departments, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.