8 Arrested as Firefighters Find Drug Lab

Times Staff Writer

An apparently routine call to the Escondido Fire Department early Friday led to the discovery of a methamphetamine laboratory and the arrest of eight people, authorities said.

Authorities said the Fire Department received a call at 3:08 a.m. to treat Maurice E. Edmonds, 29, who had burns on his hands, arms and legs. The man, who was sitting out on his front lawn, said he had burned himself while working on his car, fire Capt. Neal Hobbs said.

Firefighters noticed six to eight people quickly loading a pickup truck, Hobbs said.

"A lot of things didn't add up. Why was he working on his car at 3 in the morning? And why were those people hurrying up loading a pickup truck, not wanting to let the firemen know what they were doing?"

Firefighters called the Escondido Police Department after they noticed a strong chemical odor coming from the house.

Police Lt. Charles Askegreen said officers entered the house and found a laboratory used to manufacture methamphetamine, commonly known as "speed."

Arrested were Maurice E. Edmonds, 29; Gloria Sue Edmonds, 37; David Solorzano, 19; David Rogers, 24; Joji McMillan, 34; Benjamin Gomez, 30; Ruben B. Day, 37, and a 15-year-old youth who was released to the custody of his parents, Askegreen said.

Edmonds was treated at Palomar Hospital.

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