Friday, March 13, 2009


A Los Angeles County Fire Department Hazardous Material Team specialist carries hallucinogenic mushrooms from an apartment in Canyon Country. Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies busted a large mushroom farm operating from the apartment.
Brian Charles (The Signal)

Deputies raid drug stash
Disturbance leads to one of largest busts in SCV history

Sheriff's deputies responding to a domestic disturbance Thursday discovered hallucinogenic mushrooms in plain sight and returned to arrest two alleged dealers at the Canyon Country apartment.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department hazardous materials crew, dressed head to toe in protective white suits, spent three hours Thursday afternoon removing drugs from the apartment in the 29700 block of Solamint Road.

The amount of drugs seized hadn't been determined, but it could represent one of the largest busts in Santa Clarita Valley history.

"I've never seen this much," Sgt. Richard Larue said.

Deputies arrested Arfana Hubbard, 19, of Saugus and David Dunnell, 26, of Canyon Country for investigation of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, Lt. Brenda Cambra said.

A domestic dispute between the two alleged mushroom dealers led deputies to the drug lab, Cambra said.

Deputies responded to the domestic disturbance at 4 a.m. Thursday, Larue said. When deputies arrived they saw hallucinogenic mushrooms in plain sight, he said.

Earlier reports of gunshots at the scene proved to be untrue, Cambra said. The loud banging noises heard at the time of the domestic dispute were probably slamming doors, she said.

Deputies returned at noon with a search warrant and help from a regional drug task force that included officers from the Los Angeles Police Department Crime Lab, Cambra said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team showed up to collect the mushroom, which are considered a biohazard, said Thomas Provost, county Fire Department hazardous materials specialist.

"We do this for every suspected clandestine drug lab," he said.

The hazmat-suited fire crews shuttled in and out of the apartment carrying mason jars full of mushrooms along with 15 growing containers, 21 start-up jars and eight trays of dried mushrooms ready for street sale.

The hazmat team took precautions to not contaminate the area by soaping down the surface areas of their suits and their boots for mushroom spore, Provost said.

The cleanup began at noon and lasted until 3 p.m., Cambra said.

Hubbard and Dunnell are being held in lieu of $100,000 due. Both suspects are due in Santa Clarita Superior Court for arraignment Monday.

Source: - Link
By Brian Charles
Signal Staff Writer

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