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Drug raid on NE Bend duplex finds dangerous lab making psychedelic hallucinogen DMT; 4 residents arrested

(Update: Adding 4 arrests, more info)

Drug agent says such labs pose risks of fires, explosions, burns

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A raid Wednesday morning on a northeast Bend duplex that’s been the subject of numerous investigations turned up a surprise – an active, dangerous drug lab allegedly used to extract the hallucinogen DMT, officials said. Four residents were arrested on various charges.

Acting partially on a citizen tip, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, working with the sheriff’s office SWAT Team and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, executed a search warrant around 8 a.m. on a home in the 1400 block of Northeast Tucson Way, Sergeant Kent Vander Kamp said.

"This home and the occupants were the subjects of a long-term controlled substance investigation," he said in an update Wednesday night, announcing the arrest of four residents. 

During the raid, an active, clandestine lab alleged to extract dimethyltryptamine (DMT) was located on the property, Vander Kamp said, adding later that investigators found processed DMT distillate and other evidence of distribution. 

After the investigation, four residents were arrested and booked into the county jail. Two men and a woman were charged with drug manufacturing and distribution within 1,000 feet of a school. The 56-year-old woman also was held in five outstanding arrest warrants, Vander Kamp said, while one man was charged with parole violation. All four were charged with frequenting a place with controlled substances.

DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug that occurs naturally in many plants and animals, including humans. It’s structurally similar to psilocybin and is known to produce short-acting, intense visual hallucinations.

Vander Kamp said, "Illicit DMT labs can require various volatile, highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures. These DMT processing labs also use Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), commonly known as lye. This combination can cause fires, explosions, and chemical burns."

"Although N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring substance in many species of plants, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance and unlawful to manufacture and distribute DMT, in any form," the sergeant added. 

He said the scene was stable and no evacuations were ordered, but investigators asked the public to avoid the area for a time. No injuries were reported.

The Oregon State Police Clandestine Lab Team, Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon DEQ responded to the scene and assisted investigators in safely deactivating, dismantling and decontaminating the clandestine lab, Vander Kamp said. DEQ will follow up with the homeowner to complete the decontamination process. 

“The house was the subject of multiple investigations,” Vander Kamp told NewsChannel 21. “However, the lab was a surprise.”

Sgt. Jason Wall told NewsChannel 21 on scene that the lab was located mainly in the garage of the duplex. Wall said law enforcement took extra care to dismantle the lab due to the unknown volatility of the chemicals being used and the location.

"The majority of residences have a common wall or a shared wall, per code," he said. "More likely than not, these walls are concrete. However, an explosion might be able to penetrate that wall. This is a very family-friendly neighborhood. There are two schools within 1,000 feet of this location -- day cares, as well as churches. So the chance of injury or peripheral damages is huge."

Wall said in his many years working in the region, this was the first DMT lab he's encountered.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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