Despite bubbling tar, methane gas and other toxic chemicals, LAPD Sgt. David Mascarenas spent an hour diving some 17 feet deep in the murky sludge searching for evidence.
"Visibility was zero. I could pretty much not see my hand until I put it up to my face. We did find evidence that pertained to the police investigation. It was a high profile case that they were looking for evidence of that crime," said Mascarenas.
Detectives would not provide any details about the 2011 murder. Police say they were acting on a tip and it was a last ditch effort to find evidence in the murder. Mascarenas believes the evidence has been there the whole time.
Mascarenas says in nearly 20 years diving for the LAPD, he has never faced such dangerous conditions.
"I was wearing what is called a hazmat dry suit, a hazardous material suit that's supposed to protect you against chemicals and any contaminated water," said Mascarenas.
He admits his protective suit leaked and he got a little sick.
"I am feeling better now. The contact with the chemicals and the fumes, the methane gas, and so forth, caused me to get a little dizzy and a little lightheaded, but I had to focus on my mission," said Mascarenas.