Suspicions that cult leader David Koresh was operating an illicit drug lab prompted federal agents to seek assistance from the National Guard in the raid last month on his rural compound, authorities said Saturday.
David Troy, chief of intelligence for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said reports indicated that Koresh and up to 10 of his followers were producing and selling methamphetamine as part of "a fund-raising effort."
Troy's allegations came in response to concerns that the use of the National Guard and three of its helicopters--all of which sustained hits and were forced to land during a gun battle with cult members--was unjustified.
During surveillance flights over the 77-acre compound prior to the raid, guard helicopters equipped with infrared heat detectors "identified a hot spot consistent with a methamphetamine lab," Troy said.
The existence of such a drug lab in the compound has not been confirmed, Troy said.
In the meantime, a second person has eluded a small army of law enforcement officers and entered the compound where nearly 100 cult members have been holed up since Feb. 28, FBI Agent Bob Ricks said.
On Wednesday, 24-year-old Louis Anthony Alaniz of Houston scrambled past the police cordon, knocked on the front door of the compound and was let inside. On Friday, another unidentified person did the same thing.
As of Saturday morning, neither person had expressed an interest in coming out, Ricks said.
"It is somewhat embarrassing. Obviously, we have to strengthen the perimeter," Ricks said.
In another development, cult member Kathryn Schroeder, 30, who left the compound on March 12, was served with an arrest warrant charging her with conspiracy to attempt to kill federal agents, Troy said.
Schroeder was being held as a material witness in the case.
Four agents and an unknown number of cult members died in the gun battle.
According to a report in the April 5 issue of Newsweek, which reaches newsstands Monday, an anonymous federal source said he believes there is evidence to support a theory that several agents were wounded or killed by fire from other agents.
Jerry Singer, an ATF spokesman, dismissed that theory Saturday. "We have the tape, we have reviewed our agents' statements. There is no information whatsoever that any of our agents were hit by friendly fire or by accident," during the raid, Singer said.