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New type of meth lab raided in Tulsa; man jailed

tulsaworld.com, April 12, 2014

Tulsa County sheriff's deputies uncovered a type of methamphetamine lab new to northeastern Oklahoma during a raid Friday.

The Violent Crime Drug Task Force seized five pounds of crystal meth made in a conversion meth lab in which "only a partial step in the manufacturing process is carried out and/or raw or unrefined drug precursors are chemically altered into a new chemical that is used on the street as the final product," Maj. Shannon Clark said in a media release.

"It's a new way to develop methamphetamine," he told the Tulsa World. "It's a quick way."

Deputies serving a search warrant at an auto sales business at 1606 N. Sheridan Road discovered the lab and immediately noticed that what they had found was not consistent with the one-pot, or shake-and-bake, labs to which they're accustomed, Clark said.

Deputies also seized more than a dozen cars.

"Once they got in and saw the production and how they were developing the meth, they had never seen that before," Clark said, adding that the drug crystallized on the investigators' gloves as they seized the various components.

Sheriff's investigators then requested assistance from Drug Enforcement Administration agents, who told them they had not seen any conversion labs in the Tulsa area but that the production method is popular in and around Dallas.

Deputies handled the materials with caution due to a lack of experience with the process, but they said it doesn't appear to be as combustible as other methods.

"It's our belief in the way that it's designed that it's not as volatile," Clark said. "It's just as dangerous, but it's not as volatile."

Miguel Valdivia, 39, was booked into the Tulsa Jail at 11 a.m. on complaints of aggravated trafficking of a controlled drug and failure to obtain a tax stamp for a controlled drug. His bond is set at $26,000.

The quantity of the drug seized leads investigators to believe that more people are involved in the operation. Clark said they expect more arrests to be made in the case.