Update, June 11: Reports subsequent to Berkeleyside’s original story and conversation with Sgt. J.D. Nelson, spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, suggest suspicions about a methamphetamine lab at 1615 Oregon St. proved unfounded. Sgt. Steve Lemthe of the sheriff’s office told Bay City News that, while searching the home, deputies found an unknown substance they thought might be hazardous, but that a hazmat team concluded the substance was not toxic. Psychedelic drugs were found in the home, and authorities arrested three residents, Lemthe said. Nelson told Berkeleyside on the day of the raid, June 6, that a meth lab had been uncovered. Numerous attempts to reach him since then have proved unsuccessful.
Original story, June 6: A house on Oregon Street in South Berkeley was raided Friday morning at around 7:30 a.m. and authorities say they found a meth lab there.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson, spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, said after the meth lab was revealed, a hazardous materials unit was called in. The substances had been removed by around 10 a.m., and authorities were “packing up,” he said
Nelson said he believed arrests had been made, but was uncertain of how many.
Two buildings, next to 1615 Oregon and behind it, were evacuated, according to David Cohn, who lives across the street from 1615 Oregon, just west of California, where the raid occurred. Oregon Street was partially blocked to traffic for several hours. It was open again by around 10 a.m.
Cohn said he and his wife were woken up around 7:25 a.m. by yelling and banging. Several police officers, both a sheriff and U.S. postal inspectors, were outside the house at 1615 Oregon.
“They said they had a warrant and they busted the door down,” said Cohn. “They came out with three people. Two men and a woman. They sat them down in the front, handcuffed.”
A police officer told Cohn’s wife the incident was narcotics-related and there was a hazardous chemical authorities were concerned about and wanted to remove safely.
“There is a shed in the back and, from what I’ve gathered, they are concerned with a substance in it,” Cohn added.
Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said the agency was called at 8:10 a.m. by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. ‘They requested support for a hazardous materials case,” he said. Webb said Berkeley Fire sent several apparatus, but that they “weren’t on scene very long.” “The situation must have been contained fairly easily,” he said. Fire crews began leaving Oregon Street at around 9:20 a.m., he said.
Sgt. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s office said the case was not unusual. “It’s not all that uncommon to find meth labs in the Bay Area,” he said.
This story was updated as more information became available.
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