Federal agents arrested three alleged gang members in a raid on a North Hollywood laboratory capable of producing millions of dollars worth of the illegal drug “ice,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Dong Soo “Danny” Kim, 36; Chul Jin Nam, 35; and Nam Soo Kang, 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, DEA agents said.
The lab was found Tuesday in Kang’s apartment in the 11000 block of Moorpark Street, DEA spokesman Ralph Lochridge said. The men were arraigned in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and ordered held without bail.
Three other locations, including Kim’s home in the 100 block of North Oxford Avenue in Los Angeles, were also searched.
Lochridge said agents confiscated enough raw materials to produce 10 pounds of ice, a colorless, crystal form of smokable methamphetamine, which could have been sold for $100,000 a pound on the streets. Lochridge said the lab was spread throughout the one-bedroom apartment and was in use when agents arrived.
“There were lots of fumes,” he said. “It was a safety hazard to other residents in the complex.
“Our investigation reveals that this ice was being produced and manufactured in Los Angeles for shipment and ultimate distribution into the Hawaiian ice market,” Lochridge said. The drug is popular in Hawaii, which is the largest market for it in the nation, he said.
Lochridge said this was the first documented case of the drug being produced in Los Angeles for shipment to Hawaii.
The raid culminated a 13-month joint investigation by the DEA, Los Angeles police and the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
The three were believed to be filling a void in the ice market created by a raid on a lab in Hawaii two months ago. “We arrested the people in Hawaii and these people got promoted,” Lochridge said.
Kim is believed to be the leader of the gang which has ties to ice manufacturers in Hawaii, he said.
Agents found a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol equipped with a silencer and financial records of drug deals at Kim’s residence, Lochridge said.