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Goleta hotel worker behind bars after police find drug lab inside Marriott boiler room

Goleta hotel worker behind bars after police find drug lab inside Marriott boiler room
Authorities investigate a drug lab that was discovered inside a Marriott hotel in Goleta on Tuesday. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)

A 37-year-old maintenance worker is in custody this week after authorities said he set up a secret drug lab inside a hotel where he worked in Goleta, Calif.

Employees at the Courtyard by Marriott on Storke Road called police shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday when they discovered suspicious chemicals in the hotel’s boiler room, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

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When deputies arrived, they found a clandestine drug lab that was being used to make Dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogenic drug more widely known as DMT, authorities said.

“The manufacturing process requires the extraction of chemicals from root bark through the use of highly toxic and flammable chemicals in an extraction vessel over an open flame,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Hotel guests who were staying in rooms near the lab were relocated while authorities investigated. Santa Barbara County firefighters and a Los Angeles County drug task force assisted in dismantling the lab.

Authorities identified Aaron Gorzeman of Oxnard, who worked at the hotel, as a suspect during the investigation, but it is not clear how they linked him to the lab. They executed a search warrant on his home and his car, where authorities said they found additional evidence of drug manufacturing late Tuesday.

Gorzeman already had been behind bars for several days by the time the lab was discovered. He was arrested Saturday after deputies said they found him in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the parking lot of the hotel. He also had outstanding warrants, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Gorzeman was re-booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of drug manufacturing. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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