Mission RCMP say investigators have found a total of approximately 60 kilograms of the party drug — enough for 600,000 individual doses — that could be worth up to $3 million on the street.
Police say this appears to be the second biggest ecstasy seizure in B.C. history and, potentially, the biggest drug lab ever found and dismantled in the province.
Other yet-to-be identified drugs have been found in the former auto-body shop in the 7100 block of Horne Street, according to RCMP Sgt. Rob Dixon.
An explosion waiting to happen
The lab also housed pressure vessels, reactions chambers and buckets of volatile and dangerous solvents and acids — a setup that at least one RCMP officer at the scene likened to the various drug labs portrayed in the TV drama Breaking Bad.
But for former RCMP forensic drug expert Wayne Jeffery, the description of the Mission lab made him think only of a ticking time bomb.
"The explosion — the amount of chemicals that I read that were involved in this — could level a city block. You could have death and destruction from that," he told CBC News.
The lab was only discovered when something went wrong just before noon Saturday. A handful of people in the building were seen running away as smoke began billowing out. Firefighters arrived to put out the fire, but once inside they dropped their hoses and backed out to call police and evacuate the area due to the risk of an explosion.
Jeffery said that while drug gangs are likely responsible for setting up and running the lab, government and police aren't tracking and controlling the chemicals that are used to make ecstasy and meth.
"We say 'no chemicals, no drugs.' If you can prevent the chemicals coming into the country, you can prevent the manufacture of those drugs," he said.
He said tougher laws in the U.S. have made it hard for gangs to get their hands on key chemicals there, which means that many are turning to Canada to set up production centres.
Jeffery said although the bosses behind the Horne Street lab will hurt in the short term, they'll be back operating again as long as they can keep supplying the necessary ingredients.
"More money will be made available, then another lab will pop up. It's only a matter of time," he said.
CBC News contacted the owner of the Mission property, who said tenants had rented the building where the lab was found.
The RCMP says no arrests have been made.