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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Suspected drug operation investigated in Nanakuli

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu police narcotics officers were called to investigate a suspicious makeshift laboratory found along an isolated stretch of beach in Nanakuli early yesterday.

An officer at the Wai'anae substation said a 911 caller at 1:56 a.m. thought someone was making crystal methamphetamine, or "ice," on the beach. The caller reported unusual smells coming from the area.

The lab was in a tent not easily seen from the intersection of Farrington Highway and Mohihi Street.

A portion of the makai lane of Farrington Highway was closed as a precaution until about 7 a.m., backing up commuters as far as Ma'ili, police said.

Lt. Michael Fujioka, head of the Clandestine Drug Lab Response Team, said officers suspect crystal methamphetime because they found crystals and an unknown liquid, but field tests were not conclusive. Further tests will be done at the police station.

No one was at the beach when police arrived, but a 31-year-old Nanakuli man was questioned when he arrived at the tent.

"It's a possible clandestine lab," Fujioka said. "We still have to do a lab analysis on what this person was making. He had some stuff that leads us to suspect a lab. He had iodine, a single burner and he had some glassware. There was a container with some crystal-like substance on it."

Firefighters decontaminated police officers after they had left the lab, said fire department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo, to prevent the spread of possibly toxic substances.