No Arrests in Oxford Street Drug Investigation
The investigation into an apparent meth lab is still in the "relatively early stages," according to Somerville Police.
Police have made no arrests so far in an investigation that brought DEA agents, police, people in hazmat suits, a state police explosives team, Somerville firefighters and ambulances to a residence on Oxford Street Monday morning.
Monday's law-enforcement action closed down part of Oxford Street, a leafy residential block close to Somerville City Hall, and attracted local news helicopters to the skies above Somerville.
Deputy Chief Paul Upton of the Somerville Police confirmed the activity was part of "a drug related investigation," but didn't provide further details as to the nature of the investigation.
He said the investigation originated with a DEA task force, which has a representative from Somerville Police as one of its members.
Possible meth lab
Evidence suggests authorities were investigating the possible presence of a drug lab at the residence, 19 Oxford St.
DEA agents in jackets that read, "DEA Clandestine Lab Enforcement Team" were on the scene Monday morning, and one nearby resident, who asked not to be named, recounted what a police officer told her: that authorities were investigating a possible crystal meth lab.
Such a scenario would be consistent with the safety precautions authorities took when entering the residence. Meth labs are known to contain dangerous and toxic chemicals and vapors, and chemical reactions stemming from the production of meth can cause fires and explosions.
Officials entering and exiting the residence wore hazmat suits.
Police evacuated the first floor of the residence and a house directly behind the home, according to Upton. Firefighters were on scene due to the potential of fire.
Upton said a number of "substances" were seized from the residence, and all those substances are being catalogued.
"Anything that was deemed to be potentially dangerous was neutralized," said Upton, referring to substances taken from the home. A state police explosives team detonated those substances.
As for the people in hazmat suits, "If [you're at] a suspected drug location and there's any sort of odors there … it has to be treated as a hazmat event," said Upton.
He said cataloguing and investigating what was found at the residence is "a meticulous process" and the investigation is "still in the relatively early stages."
"We're not jumping to any conclusions," said Upton. "Our main focus yesterday was to remove anything dangerous from the neighborhood."
Local television news filmed the landlord of the residence, who lives on the second floor and who said she didn't know anything about a possible meth lab there. Also, the residents of the first floor came to get their pet and find out more information, according to another local television news report.
Police seek information
Upton said police are "still looking to talk to people" and that if anyone has information about the address, 19 Oxford St., they should call Somerville Police at (617) 625-1212.