Neighbors stunned by $100 million Gilroy drug bust

August 20, 2010 7:30:40 PM PDT
Now that the numbers are in, drug agents say a methamphetamine bust in Gilroy is one of the largest operations of its kind ever dismantled in Northern California.

Drug agents with decades of experience say they have never seen anything like it -- 459 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of more than $100 million. Officers also seized 1,500 pounds of cocaine.

The massive bust Thursday in rural Gilroy has stunned people living on Roop Road.

"All my family, all the neighborhood, everyone is just in disbelief right now," neighbor Andrea Villalpando said.

Three Mexican nationals are in custody and investigators believe they are mid to upper level operatives with links to a Mexican drug cartel.

"Hopefully we have dismantled this organization and disrupted the flow to a number of other sub dealers who were expecting shipments of methamphetamine," state narcotics enforcement agent Bob Cooke said.

Exclusive video taken by GilroyDispatch.com from inside the home shows where powder methamphetamine was being soaked in acetone, sifted and dried to create the purest and most powerful form of meth known as ice.

"I've got friends that got into that years ago when I was a kid and they're vegetables," neighbor Stan Phillips said.

Most of the drugs seized will be stored as evidence, but a hazardous waste team has already destroyed hundreds of gallons of highly flammable liquid and meth in volatile stages of production.

Neighbors say given what was taking place in the house, they are glad there was never an explosion or worse.

"I'm glad we didn't have a little drug war," neighbor Patricia VanGuilder said. "That if somebody one of their rival people decided to come in there and raid the place and a lot of people could have been hurt."

The suspects are being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Jail. They could be arraigned as early as Monday.


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