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3 Accused of Manufacturing Powerful Drug

From Times Wire Services

Authorities have arrested three men, including two chemists, for allegedly manufacturing an illegal drug said to be 1,000 times more powerful than morphine. They seized a batch of the narcotic worth $2.7 million.

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials said that Kenneth Marvin Baker of West Hollywood was arrested Thursday night and that Luther Dixon and Larry King were arrested in North Hollywood on Friday.

“This particular substance is 1,000 times stronger than morphine,” DEA spokesman Johnnie Granados said. “It is the same substance that 97 overdoses have been attributed to in the San Jose-Fresno area during the last year.”

Agents seized about 10 pounds of the compound during a search of Baker’s apartment. “That wholesales at about $680,000 with a street value of $2.7 million,” Granados said.

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100 Million Doses

A search of Dixon’s laboratory uncovered enough chemicals to produce more that 100 million doses, he said.

Granados described Baker as a “whiz chemist” who was able to reshape the drug’s chemical formula, making it a so-called “designer drug,” difficult for officers to label it under a specific category for prosecution.

Dixon reportedly has a doctorate in chemistry, authorities said.

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The arrests ended a two-year investigation by the DEA, the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, Granados said.

The DEA will discuss the case at a press conference this morning.

The suspects are expected to be arraigned Monday on federal charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, Granados said.


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