Police have arrested two men and shut down a clandestine million dollar drug laboratory in Sun Valley in the Lower Mountains.
The men were arrested as part of a police swoop on the alleged secret lab by the State Crime Command Drug Squad.
The operation started last year when detectives from that squad formed Strike Force Pickling to investigate an alleged drug manufacturing syndicate operating west of Sydney. Police made the announcement of the arrests last Tuesday.
The drama started on the afternoon of Thursday, March 13 when police stopped a car being driven on the M4 Motorway in Penrith.
The 23-year-old driver from Sun Valley — the car’s sole occupant — was spoken to by police, before officers conducted a search of his car. Police said they found a number of chemicals and items of glassware believed to have been used in the manufacture of illicit drugs. The driver was arrested and taken to Penrith police station.
A police search inside the man’s Sun Valley rental home soon after, allegedly located a large scale clandestine laboratory, as well as 1.5kg of MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine), often sold as a form of ecstasy. Detectives will allege that the MDA seized had an estimated street value of $1.5 million.
Officers claim they also found close to 100 items associated with drug manufacture, including an array of glassware, a variety of chemicals and more than 80 litres of waste product.
A 23-year-old Revesby man, who was present at the Sun Valley property when police arrived, was also arrested and taken to Penrith police station. Officers subsequently executed a search warrant at his home on Horsley Road in Revesby, where they claim to have found more than 1000 litres of chemicals used in the manufacture of MDA, a variety of unknown powders and 15 vials of testosterone.
The two 23-year-olds were later charged with large commercial manufacture of MDA.
The Sun Valley man, Robert Renshaw, was refused bail and will next appear in Parramatta Local Court on May 28.
The Revesby man, Victor Chiruta, did not apply for bail after appearing in Blacktown Local Court last Thursday, March 20. He is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court today (March 26).
Commander of the State Crime Command’s Drug Squad, Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke, said officers across the force were committed to shutting down clandestine labs, and reminded members of the public that they have a role to play too.
“We will continue to do everything we can to gets drugs out of our communities, but we need the public’s help.”
Supt Cooke said neighbours should familiarise themselves “with the seven telltale signs of a drug house” and contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The signs of a drug house include:
- Strange odours emanating from the property
- Diverted electricity
- Chemical containers and waste
- Blacked out windows
- Hoses and pipes in strange places
- Blinds down, with extremely bright indoor lighting radiating through gaps
- Vehicles arriving at odd hours
Meanwhile, 10 people arrested last month and charged with supplying a range of drugs in the Upper Mountains appeared in Katoomba court on Monday. The group had been the subject of a long-running surveillance operation by police which allegedly saw heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and cannabis supplied to customers at various venues in the Katoomba area. Their cases were all adjourned to May 5 in the same court.