POLICE BEAT

Police clean out suspected drug lab in Rockland

Posted Jan. 01, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 01, 2012, at 4:48 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency mobilized at a house on James Street in Rockland on Friday after police suspected it might be used as a lab to manufacture an unusual form of a hallucinogenic drug.

They arrested the tenant, Aaron Witt, 27, and charged him with possession of suboxone. More charges are expected, James Pease, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency supervisor, said Saturday evening.

Witt had called police Friday morning to let them know that he believed someone had broken into the home he was renting at 27 James St.
Responding officers from the Rockland Police Department saw glassware and crushed-up pills in the kitchen that made them suspect drug use in the house, Pease said.

They notified the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, who obtained a search warrant for the home.

“We believe he was actually manufacturing drugs,” Pease said.

Because the home was suspected to be a lab, about a dozen people, including members of the state’s clandestine lab team responded, according to the supervisor.

The house was sealed and searched beginning at about 5:30 p.m., he said.

Officials believe the home was being used to manufacture the psychedelic drug Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.

“He was extracting parts of that out of a certain type of bark,” Pease said.

According to the website for the Partnership at Drugfree.org, the hallucinogen is found in a variety of plants and seeds and can be produced synthetically. DMT is the active ingredient in ayahuasca, a Colombian drug made from vines and shrubs used for religious and healing purposes.

Pease said he did not know what type of bark is alleged to have been used at the James Street house.

“He had a pretty good lab going,” Pease said of Witt. “As far as labs go, it’s probably one of the least dangerous.”

Risk of explosions or fire is minimal compared with the risks associated with methamphetamine labs, Pease said.

The house is located close to the James Street Park drug-free zone and there was one other woman living in the house who was renting a room from Witt, according to the supervisor.

The drug is not common in Maine, he said, and agents have dealt with only one other lab in Bangor within the last couple of years. It can be ingested or smoked, Pease said.

Agents took some items to be analyzed for evidence, and other materials were taken to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to be destroyed.

Witt was taken to Knox County Jail in Rockland to be booked. He was released on bail, Pease said.

“Once we get the analysis back, there will be new charges,” the agent said.

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