Sheriffs raid busts Creston-Kenilworth home-based meth lab
Because of Oregon legislation making all pseudoephedrine-based medications available only by prescription - and because of the steady flow of illicit drugs coming up from our southern border - home-based methamphetamine ('meth') manufacturing labs around Portland are pretty much a thing of the past.
But, not entirely. Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Special Investigations Unit (SIU) deputies seized a supply of chemicals needed to run a large-scale meth lab in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood south of Powell just after noon on Thursday, November 29th.
The alleged drug lab, located in a home at 3622 S.E. 49th Avenue, is just a half-block east of Creston Elementary School. As we walked down the street near the house, we could clearly hear the laughter of children playing during recess as officers in 'Hazmat' suits did their work nearby.
To learn more about the arrest, we spoke with the MCSO spokesman, Lt. Jason Gates.
'We've seen a dramatic decrease in meth labs. In the past, we've closed down as many as 40 a year; this is only the third lab we've uncovered this year. But, any lab - especially one this close to a school - is a danger to the community.'
Gates says the SIU had been conducting an ongoing, covert investigation regarding 55-year-old Ted Wayne Berardinelli, who they said has a history of being involved in clandestine drug labs.
'The SIU officers applied for and were granted a search warrant,' continued Gates. 'When they executed the search warrant, they discovered specific chemicals used for making meth. The lab wasn't set up and operating, but they found finished methamphetamine.'
In addition to the street-ready meth, deputies also found a large quantity of chemicals that are typically used to manufacture meth, Gates said.
Specifically, deputies said they discovered 35 lbs. of elemental iodine, and 6 lbs. of red phosphorous.
'The average citizen wouldn't have a use for these chemicals at home - they are not cleaning or hobby materials,' Gates explained. 'And, they're expensive. Elemental iodine goes for $300 to $600 per pound on the black market. Red phosphorous sells for up to $600 per pound.'
The Multnomah County Drug Lab Response Team was called in to mitigate the health hazards associated with the lab, and to process the evidence in the house for prosecution.
In addition to the chemicals, deputies also reported finding a .38 caliber pistol, .22 caliber rifle with silencer, and a .22 caliber pistol with a silencer.
'It is illegal for an ex-con to have a weapon,' Gates commented. 'And, gun silencers are illegal for anyone to possess.'
Berardinelli has been lodged in the Multnomah County Detention Center on the following charges:
· Manufacturing a controlled substance (meth) within 1000 feet of a school;
· Distribution of a controlled substance (meth) within 1000 feet of a school;
· Possession of a controlled substance (meth);
· Three counts of ex-con in possession of a firearm; and
· Two counts of unlawful possession of silencers.
'This event demonstrates that some meth labs still do exist in the community,' Gates concluded. 'So citizens still should be diligent, and report behavior they suspect is associated with this activity.'