BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – Deputies are investigating after making a “disturbing discovery” of a meth lab in northeast Bexar County, Sheriff Javier Salazar said Thursday night.
Salazar says DEA agents and deputies assigned to a task force pursued a subject and made a traffic stop near US 281 and Jones Maltsberger. The man they stopped had two young children in the vehicle with him and 10 kilograms of methamphetamine, Salazar said.
The man led the deputies and agents to a residence in the 5400 block of Lake Grove. That’s where Salazar said they made a “disturbing discovery,” — a commercial drug operation for methamphetamine.
Salazar said the “conversion lab” had liquid drugs filled in five-gallon buckets typically used to store paint or chemicals. He said the drugs were being converted from liquid to solid at the residence and then were set to be packed and distributed to the northern areas of the country.
The sheriff said the agents and deputies also found large burners, like the ones used to fry turkeys or for large shrimp boils, and propane tanks. They also found a large amount of the beauty chemical acetone, which is used as a nail polish remover, Salazar said.
“This was a strong chemical smell. I was wearing a mask inside,” he said.
Salazar said he felt like he could still smell the chemicals through the mask. He also said the chemicals had the power to blow the roof off the house and damage nearby homes.
“This is not a residence at all,” he said.
The sheriff said the agents and deputies found an air mattress, so it wasn’t likely anyone lived in the residence.
“All it is is a lab,” he continued.
The residence had its windows removed, Salazar said. He also said there had been reports of a strong chemical smell coming from the location.
The agents and deputies had known about the drug operation for a couple of weeks. Salazar said he’s not sure how far back the drug operation had been there, but they were working out a timeline.
There was a total of about 30 kilograms of meth in pure form seized, Salazar said. He said the dollar value of the drugs was between $2 million and $3 million.
Salazar said the liquid form of the drugs likely came from south of the border. However, the operation in Bexar County was a one-stop-shop for production, packaging and distribution of the drug, according to the sheriff.
The drugs were packed in two suitcases, ready to go for commercial distribution, Salazar said.
Officials are also working to find out if the landlord knew about the operation. They have only arrested one man, but Salazar said there could be other suspects involved.
The suspect didn’t have any direct ties to the house, and the two young children in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop are safe and sound, Salazar said.
The sheriff urges anyone with tips to contact BCSO at 210-335-6070.