The “factory-sized” lab was in a three-storey brick house near Barnesdale Avenue North, and was full of dozens of burners, beakers and buckets of toxic and dangerous chemicals used to make drugs.
“This is amongst the biggest labs that we’ve come across,” said Sgt. Brent Hill of the RCMP's Chemical Diversion Unit. “This is top shelf – it’s a large, sophisticated, factory-sized operation.”
The RCMP first executed a search warrant in the house Monday, removing supplies and chemicals. Officers wearing protective gear carefully started taking the place apart, piece-by-piece.
Police say nobody lived in the home. Instead, it was outfitted from top to bottom as a drug factory – likely for the production of crystal meth and MDMA.
“From the basement, to the main floor, up to the second floor right into the attic – the entire place has been retrofitted for the purpose of production of illicit drugs,” Hill said.
Neighbours in the area were shocked to learn about such a huge drug operation so close to their homes. Police say the house wasn’t well ventilated and the chemicals being used were explosive.
“There’s a school right at the corner,” said neighbour Cathy Brazier. “If that would’ve blown with the kids walking by, they would’ve all been injured. It’s just wrong.”
“I don’t know what makes someone set something like this up,” said Rob Brown, who lives nearby. “That’s a big house to have something like that set up.”
Investigators aren’t releasing many details, but say they were watching the house for some time before the raid. The RCMP says the lab was worth over $1 million.
One man was arrested at the scene. No information about him or the charges he is facing have been released as of Wednesday morning.
The lab is so large that removing it is going to take some time. Investigators worked all Tuesday collecting evidence and removing hazardous chemicals from the home, and they say they could still be on site as late as Thursday.