09/11/2002

Apparent Drug Lab Prompts Federal, Police Response

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police and federal authorities ordered evacuations and responded in force to a report of hazardous materials Tuesday night but later determined that the materials appeared to be part of a drug lab.

Police watching a suspected chop shop in the Tacony section of the city along the Delaware River shortly after 8:30 p.m. found barrels containing chemicals they feared might be explosive.

"On the face of it, it appears the chemicals are prescursors to the manufacture of methampehtamine and/or ecstasy," said Inspector Joe O'Connor of the police counterterrorism bureau.

Two men from New York were arrested.

Police had started an evacuation of the block where the building was located but soon canceled it after determining there was no danger of explosion. The FBI and other federal authorities were also notified.

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