A federal and District task force yesterday announced the seizure here of 2 1/4 gallons of liquid PCP worth more than $12 million, after a two-month investigation into local trafficking of the powerful hallucinogen.
Undercover agents seized 1 1/2 gallons of PCP two weeks ago, and an additional three-quarters of a gallon yesterday -- enough to manufacture more than 1.6 million doses of PCP on the streets, said special agent Bob O'Leary, a spokesman for the Washington Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "The significance of this is not the dollar amount, but the amount of PCP we removed from the street," O'Leary said.
Sheirlene Wood, 29, of 2706 Wade Rd. SE, and Ronald McKinley Lee, 36, of 1235 Morse St. NE, were arrested about 4 p.m. yesterday outside a Northeast motel after undercover agents bought a "six-pack" of soda bottles filled with liquid PCP, O'Leary said. Both were charged with possession with intent to distribute PCP. O'Leary said dealers commonly sell the liquid drug by pouring the chemical solution into soda bottles and rewrapping the bottles as if they had just been purchased from a store.
Yesterday's arrest involved more than a dozen officers with the DEA and the D.C. police force who are assigned to the citywide PCP Task Force, O'Leary said.
Police found a flier in Lee's pocket advertising the Northeast Neighborhood Gym, at 1018 Ninth St. NE. The flier listed Lee as the assistant director of the gym with a slogan saying, "Drug Awareness Through Physical Fitness," O'Leary said.
Agents have been working on the case for more than two months, O'Leary said. Agents, using information from undercover agents who had been negotiating a PCP purchase with the suspects, seized 1 1/2 gallons of liquid PCP on Aug. 12 from a home at 1371 First St. SW, O'Leary said.
He said the suspects did not learn who had provided the tip for the seizure and continued to negotiate with the undercover agents, promising that they could deliver an additional three gallons of the liquid PCP to offset the drugs seized. The suspects were arrested in the parking lot of the Envoy Motel, at 501 New York Ave. NE, after they offered three quarts of the drug for sale, O'Leary said.
O'Leary said the seizure was also significant in that the PCP was captured in its liquid, wholesale form. He said most seizures involve PCP that already has been diluted and placed in marijuana cigarettes or other vegetable matter. O'Leary said the PCP came from southern California, a common area for manufacturing the drug. He said the investigation will continue into the origins of the drug as well as into others locally for whom PCP shipments had been intended.