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Linda couple jailed in NET-5 meth lab bust
Wayne Shingu's Friday morning was just getting started when a dozen armed drug enforcement agents filed quickly past his living room window in Linda.
"I thought it was strange," Shingu said. "I didn't know what was going on."
Shingu was even more surprised when he learned NET-5 drug agents had arrested his neighbors on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine at the duplex he shares in the 2000 block of Hammonton-Smartsville Road.
Investigators believe Curtis B. Langley, 47, and his girlfriend, Antonia A. Madrid, were cooking the controlled substance in large quantities, primarily inside a wooden shed behind the home.
"I just thought they were storing a lot of stuff back there," Shingu said. "Never saw anything strange or bad."
Shingu recalled frequently smelling marijuana in the area, though he could never be sure where the odor was coming from, but was "real surprised" to learn he may have been living next to a meth lab.
Langley and Madrid were booked into Yuba County Jail on the suspicion of manufacturing and possession charges and other allegations are expected to be added later, NET-5 Cmdr. Martin Horan said.
Langley was the focus of a four-month investigation and has a lengthy criminal history of cooking meth, Horan said.
Investigators seized several grams of methamphetamine and agents were still searching the home Friday afternoon.
The front of the home was sealed off while agents in biohazard suits searched for drugs and hazardous chemicals.
Several large plastic buckets of "brown sludge" were found, which investigators said were evidence that Langley was extracting ephedrine.
Most commonly, manufacturers will extract ephedrine using a dangerous combination of chemicals that include ammonia and lithium metals.
Horan said a cleanup crew from the state Department of Toxics and Substance Control will help remove the more volatile and dangerous chemicals.
"These types of places are always an environmental concern," Horan said. "A lot of these chemicals they'll dump themselves and even flush them down the toilet. It's a problem."