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Meth lab dump in Ballico

Meth lab dump in Ballico

Law enforcement found a methamphetamine lab dump site inside an almond orchard in Ballico on Tuesday.

POSTED August 7, 2009 11:15 p.m.
For the third time in four months, agents with the Merced-Mariposa High Intensity Drug trafficking Area processed a methamphetamine lab dump found in Ballico.
Around 9 a.m. Tuesday, agents were called out to the area of Bradbury Road and Sycamore Avenue for a methamphetamine lab dump site inside an almond orchard that had been set on fire.
Agents that responded said there was at least 125 pounds of kitty litter, 25 feet of hose, 60 one-gallon cans of solvent, 200 pounds of solid waste, and over a thousand cold medication pill packets.  
The cold and flu medicine contains pseudoephedrine, which is the base chemical used to make methamphetamine, said Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom MacKenzie. When meth cookers extract the ephedrine, the left over chemicals become solid waste or “binder,” which does pose environmental and health risks.
Based on the amount of debris found at the site, agents were able to determine that about 60 pounds of methamphetamine was manufactured during this one cook, MacKenzie said. The average price of methamphetamine is about $20,000 per pound, which means this one cook produced $1.2 million worth of methamphetamine, MacKenzie said.
According to the agents, this is the third lab dump of this size found in the Ballico area in the last four months.
Agents had to wait until late in the afternoon for the dump to cool enough to process.

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