Riverside drug bust nets $5M in meth, marijuana; 7 arrested

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Federal agents busted a large-scale crystal methamphetamine lab and a marijuana growing operation in Riverside, seizing more than $5 million in chemicals and drugs.

Seven men, all originally from Mexico, have been arrested. Six of the men, ages 22 to 51, are facing possible drug charges. The seventh suspect is being held for questioning in connection with an ongoing murder investigation in Sacramento.

The arrests were made after Homeland Security special agents executed search warrants at three Riverside homes.

Agents confiscated more than 40 gallons of liquid methamphetamine and about 40 pounds of finished crystal methamphetamine inside a home in the 19000 block of White Dove Lane. According to officials, the liquid methamphetamine was enough to produce approximately 250 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, which has a street value of up to $1,000 per ounce in California.

In addition to the methamphetamine, authorities said they found drug manufacturing equipment in the home, including two propane tanks hooked up to a makeshift stove for "cooking" the liquid methamphetamine and several freezers to crystalize the methamphetamine.

Investigators say that preliminary evidence indicates the methamphetamine was likely smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico in liquid form, and then converted to crystals at the home for distribution.

Authorities also searched two other residences, one of which housed a marijuana growing operation. At that home, located in the 17000 block of Twin Lakes Drive, investigators found 300 marijuana plants and 230 pounds of processed marijuana, which carries an estimated street value of approximately $1 million. Also seized were four firearms and $70,000 in cash.

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