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Merrimack Valley

June 26, 2013

Drug lab seized in Rowley self-storage unit

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


The production and distribution of “meth” received a boost in notoriety in recent years thanks to the hit television program “Breaking Bad.” The American Movie Channel program chronicles the exploits of a former high school chemistry teacher who was diagnosed with fatal cancer and decided to turn to a life of crime by manufacturing and selling “meth” with the help of a former student.

Rowley police Detective Lt. Joseph Gamache said a police officer conducting a routine patrol of the storage facility in the early morning hours noticed a suspicious odor emanating from one of the storage units. With that information, police organized assets from several nearby communities and the state before descending upon the storage unit around 11 a.m. Gamache wouldn’t comment on who rented the unit. No arrests were made. Police are continuing its investigation, Gamache added.

By 1:30 p.m. the items had been removed from the storage unit and crews went on standby as they waited for a Department of Environmental Protection team. Around 2 p.m. a DEP crew arrived and transported the items to the state’s chemist office for analysis.

ABZ Self Storage opened in 2007. The complex has dozens of self-storage bays located within metal buildings, each unit with its own metal door. According to the company website, the entire complex is surrounded by a high metal fence, topped by barbed wire, and cameras record the comings and goings 24 hours a day.

A woman answering the phone at ABZ Self Storage yesterday afternoon declined comment, referring all questions to the Rowley Police Department.

At several instances, Route 133 was briefly closed in both directions to allow emergency vehicles to enter the parking lot. By 1 p.m. there seemed to be little room inside the lot as more than 20 fire engines, police cruisers, emergency response trailers and a relief truck were parked inside. A Rowley police officer, armed with an assault rifle, remained in front of the parking lot to keep the curious from getting close and to divert storage unit renters from entering.

Gamache said since its opening, ABZ Self Storage has attracted little police attention with none of it rivaling the activity witnessed yesterday.

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