NEWS

Apparent high-rise meth lab dismantled in Toronto

07/03/2012 05:07 EDT | Updated 09/02/2012 05:12 EDT
Police began dismantling what they believed to be a high-rise methamphetamine lab on Wednesday, as neighbours living in the Scarborough condominium said they were stunned that an apparent crime scene had been operating within their apartment complex.

The sight of hazardous materials crews dressed in protective body suits entering the building near McCowan and Ellesmere roads was hard for residents like Jimmy Truong to believe.

"I would never expect anything like that to happen. It's a major shock to me," Truong said.

The tower at 190 Borough Drive was cordoned off by police tape on Wednesday as Truong stared up, wondering how a drug lab could have gone unnoticed just a few floors above his home.

Toronto police Det. Roger Desrochers said a special crew had been dispatched to perform the clean-up in the 30th-floor unit.

"We're setting up to take down what we believe is a methamphetamine lab," Desrochers said. "Its only been in use for a short time. What is inside is contained. There are no reactions happening."

He added that this was no small operation.

"This isn't just a box lab in a closet, There's some sophisticated equipment and there's a lot of know-how in this condo," he said. "I'm confident in that."

Reports of leak on 30th floor

CBC's Ivy Cuervo reported that the crews seemed to be examining "what seemed to be a suspicious liquid leaking" from the apartment.

A hazardous materials crew first attended the apartment Tuesday afternoon, after a call about a water leak at an apartment on the 30th floor. That's when the discovery of the apparent drug lab was made and the entire floor had to be evacuated.

But it's still not known who was running the chemical lab.

Desrochers said neighbours saw a man make a daring escape on Tuesday, scaling from the 30th-floor balcony to the 29th floor before fleeing the scene.

Investigators still don't have a more detailed description of that male suspect.

Truong said his condo building is only a few years old and that it's mostly occupied by young families. Some of his neighbours watched the drama unfold from their balconies on Tuesday.

As for whether it's unusul for police to learn of a dangerous and illegal meth lab set up in a residential unit of a condominium, Desrochers said police are rarely surprised by the resourcefulness of some drug manufacturers.

"Certainly there are many challenges with setting up inside a busy residential building, but people seem to find a way," he said.

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