Structure Fire Leads to Discovery of an Illegal Drug Manufacturing Operation and Arrest of a Santa Barbara Man
Santa Barbara - February 14th, 2016
On Saturday, February 13, 2016, at approximately 6:00 p.m., the Santa Barbara Police and Fire Departments responded to a report of a structure fire in the 700 block of De La Vina Street in the City of Santa Barbara. Upon their arrival, they located a multi-family apartment complex and a subject suffering from burns to his arms and wrists. Inside the apartment, they located a kitchen with extensive fire and smoke damage and smoke damage to the adjacent bedroom. After further inspection, they determined the fire was most likely the result of an illegal drug manufacturing operation.
The Santa Barbara Police Department notified the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office of the clandestine laboratory and requested assistance from its certified clandestine laboratory investigators. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s narcotics detectives, with the assistance of the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (L.A. IMPACT), responded to the scene. It was determined the subject was likely attempting to produce dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a powerful hallucinogenic drug.
The manufacturing process requires the extraction of chemicals from root bark through the use of highly toxic and flammable chemicals in an extraction vessel over an open flame. During this extraction process is when investigators suspect the subject added paint thinner to the mixture in glass jars which overflowed and ignited on the open flames causing a large fire; similar to throwing gasoline on an open fire. The subject suffered burns to his arms and wrists when he attempted to extinguish the fire. A neighbor heard the subject yelling for help and attempted to put the fire out using a fire extinguisher. The neighbor was transported to the hospital for potential smoke inhalation.
The suspect, 26-year-old Laurence Larsen of Santa Barbara, was transported to the hospital for his injuries and after being released was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of manufacturing an illegal substance and illegally causing a fire with injuries. This is still an active investigation and more charges are pending.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 805-683-2724 or the Anonymous Tip-Line at 805-681-4171. The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that these illegal drug manufacturing labs are extremely volatile and dangerous. They are capable of creating large explosions and put the entire surrounding community at risk. If you suspect this type of criminal activity is occurring, it is important to contact law enforcement right away.
Also, it is important to recognize that DMT is a Schedule I drug and has many health risks associated with its use. Such health risks include: Intense visuals and hallucinations (which alter the users concept and perception of time and reality), stomach discomfort, overwhelming fear, paranoid thoughts of impending doom, lung irritation, increased heart rate and body temperature.
DMT users can also go into a state of unconsciousness or slip into a drug induced coma which can lead to death due to the user vomiting or choking to death.
For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover
Business Hours: (805) 681-4100