Massive federal drug bust at Madera home

Federal agents say they seized what's likely to be $1 million worth of crystal meth from a Madera home and shut down a meth lab.
March 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Federal agents say they made a disturbing find at a house in Madera. Agents say they seized what's likely to be $1 million worth of crystal meth from the home and shut down a meth lab.

Cellphone video shows federal investigators at work. They say what they found inside the home is an elaborate drug storage and processing lab.

"It's very dangerous, very disturbing; methamphetamine conversion labs and stash houses are extremely dangerous. They're combustible, they're toxic and it's something that no neighborhood should be subjected to," said Mike Prado with Homeland Security Investigations.

A photo provided to Action News by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement shows packaged crystal meth, ready for sale on the streets.

Homeland Security Investigations says the drugs were likely smuggled into the country from Mexico as a liquid then processed inside the house to become crystal meth. Investigators served a search warrant at the home on Thursday. Evidence of that was posted on the front door and in the now-empty garage.

Action News talked with neighbors, who declined on-camera interviews. But several said the people living in the alleged drug house disappeared -- gone for days. Neighbors said the residents had only moved in about four months ago. Of course, neighbors are stunned to hear 176 pounds of crystal meth was found inside -- a bust investigators say is large and rare.

"It's a lot of drugs, not just in this area, but in the state as a whole," said Prado. "As you're aware, as the public may be aware, methamphetamine is a major problem in the area."

Investigators won't say how long they've been eyeing this home, but they say the case began with information from the California Highway Patrol.

While the seizure of nearly $1 million in drugs is huge to the federal agents investigating, they admit it's just a tiny fraction of the drugs out on the streets.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris praised the bust, saying it's a great collaborative work between more than a handful of local, state and federal agencies. She estimates 70 percent of the nation's meth supply is smuggled into the country through California.

Agents say they are still on the hunt for the people running the drug house.


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