EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 26, 2013

Drug lab seized in Rowley self-storage unit

Working laboratory found in self-storage unit off of Route 133

ROWLEY — Hazmat crews wearing white suits and oxygen masks yesterday afternoon hauled away what law enforcement and firefighters are calling a working drug laboratory inside a self-storage unit located off Route 133, within a few dozen yards of Interstate 95.

Cylinders containing what could be illegal drugs, a microwave oven and chemicals were among the items discovered in a storage unit at ABZ Self Storage, close to the Rowley/Georgetown town line. Police brought in a bomb squad as well as firefighters and a hazardous materials response team. Several local police departments, as well as the state police, were on the scene.

John Dupray of the Rowley Fire Department said that an investigation began early yesterday, when police were informed that possible drug activity was going on in the storage unit. Police closed in on the unit around 11 a.m.

Dupray said that inside, police discovered what is being called an “unspecified drug conversion lab.” A hazardous materials team found scattered drug conversion products on the floor, and two cylinders filled with an unknown substance. Those cylinders were transported to a lab for analysis.

Throughout the early afternoon, emergency response trucks from the state Department of Fire Services Special Operations and multiple bomb squad vehicles from across the region converged upon the site as officials prepared for the possibility that explosives were also present.

“Bottom line is they didn’t know what was behind the door,” said Dupray. No bombs were found.

At the scene, firefighters were overheard saying that it was a methamphetamine lab.

“Meth,” as it is called, is a highly addictive, illegal drug that can be smoked, snorted or injected. Meth labs are dotted across the country in facilities as small as a motel room. It is relatively simple to assemble yet hazardous to operate, as flammable and corrosive chemicals are used to convert chemical compounds into what some users call the “white dragon. Among meth’s active ingredients is the over-the-counter drug pseudoephedrine used to clear sinuses. In an attempt to combat this misuse of pseudoephedrine in Massachusetts, pharmacists require consumers to present identification and record every purchase.

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