Federal drug agents, assisted by Fairfax County and Montgomery County police, yesterday arrested three men in simultaneous early morning raids in Alexandria, Va., and Potomac, Md., and charged them with conspiracy to manufacture the hallucinogenic drug, PCP.
The 1:30 a.m. raids, which officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration said netted chemicals and equipment worth several hundred thousand dollars, were the latest in a series of raids in recent years here on alleged PCP "laboratories" by local and federal law enforcement officials.
The efforts reflect the view of law officials that the Washington metropolitan area has become "known nationality as the PCP capital of the United States," said Marino H. Malano, special agent in charge of DEA's Washington field office.
Arrested and charged yesterday, according to federal officials, were John Roland McGee, 22, and Alfred Stuart, 21, both of 2535 Huntington Ave., Alexandria, and Patrick Paul Titkanen, 23, of 9800 Falls Rd., Potomac. The men were working together, the officials said.
Titkanen was being held yesterday at the Montgomery County Dentention Center after failing to post a $250 cash bond. McGee and Stuart were being held in the Alexandria city jail awaiting arraignment, according to officials.
The arrest ended a three-month long investigation, Marino said. He declined to say whether any suspects remained at large.
Marino said the laboratories at both locations were capable of producing large quantities of the drug, also known by its scientific name of phencyclidine. The laboratories were connected with a large distributive network, Marino said.
PCP, also known as "Angel's Dust", or "Killer weed," is usually inhaled or smoked in cigaretted form. Drug officials say that it has become popular because many incorrectly think it less harmful than amphetamines or LSD.
In October, federal officials, working with police in the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, capped a six-month investigation with the arrest of seven men allegedly involved in a $500,000 PCP-manufacturing operation.
The alleged leader of the operation, Mark Mayer, was found dead in his Silver Spring apartment last month with his hands handcuffed behind his back. The death, labeled a homicide by Montgomery County Police, is still under investigation.