A 44-year-old Los Angeles man was arrested at a Northeast Washington motel yesterday after D.C. police and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found more than 3 1/2 gallons of PCP in his luggage, federal and local police officials said.

D.C. police Lt. William Merritt said the man, Curtis Simmons Jr., was charged with possession of PCP with intent to distribute. A DEA spokesman said Simmons was being held without bond last night in the central cell block at D.C. police headquarters pending a hearing in U.S. District Court today.

"If it is as pure as we think, if you diluted it and sprayed it on parsley or marijuana, it would have a street value of about $8 million," Merritt said. "It could be the largest seizure of liquid PCP we've ever had here in the District."

DEA spokesman Bob O'Leary said the drug was seized after members of the DEA-D.C. police task force received information that a man with a large quantity of PCP was staying at the Master Hosts Inn at 1917 Bladensburg Rd. NE.

Police obtained a D.C. Superior Court search warrant for the man's room and executed it about 1 p.m., O'Leary said. He said the man was in the room when eight D.C. police officers and three special agents arrived, and he surrendered without incident.

O'Leary said that police found 15 one-quart Listerine mouthwash bottles that were filled with the PCP in three suitcases with Baltimore-Washington International Airport luggage stickers affixed to them. Merritt said police believe the man arrived from California about two days ago.

O'Leary said the bottles were each wrapped in cardboard sleeves, then placed in athletic socks that were tied at the ends and arranged in the suitcases.

"The impact of this amount of PCP let loose in the District of Columbia would be significant," he said.