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Quaaludes are back and, apparently, popping up in Greenpoint.
Federal drug enforcement agents swarmed DL Labs on Kent Street on Wednesday, claiming that the lab is part of an underground Quaalude trafficking pipeline that stretched all the way to California.
The raid was part of “Operation Lude Behavior,” a three-year investigation into the alleged $3.5-million illegal drug network. The lab was a pivotal meeting point, prosecutors said.
“Thousands” of pills were reportedly seized, but it was unclear if any of the 1970s drug of choice was actually found.
A lab employee said he didn’t know how investigators got in.
“No one was here,” said the employee, who wished not to be named. “We’re all in the dark until we hear from our fearless leaders.”
Witnesses said that investigators blocked off both Franklin and West streets with police cruisers at 5 pm, before they executed their search warrant.
Federal prosecutors alleged that would-be quaalude king Dennis Patrick Fairley, a West Coast chemist, manufactured the pills at a lab in California — interestingly enough, the same lab that recently merged with DL Labs.
Farley then sold the drugs directly to suspects Frank Bisman, Jason Abbate and Neil Weinstock, who distributed them throughout the city.
Bisman and Abbate allegedly met with Fairley on a monthly basis at DL Labs, a place identified by investigators as “the Brooklyn lab.”
Bisman and his team reportedly bought the ’ludes for $7 a pill and sold them for $11, according to intercepted phone conservations. More than 100,000 quaaludes were bought and sold between 2008 and 2010, officials estimate.
The drug, also known as methaqualone, was a big hit in the 1970s and early ’80s because of its wide availability and its supposedly euphoric high.
Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor for Manhattan, said that Fairley’s quaalude operation was a “toxic experiment.”
“[The arrests] nips in the bud any apparent re-emergency of quaaludes in our communities,” she said.
But DL Labs claims that it is not in the quaalude business. Its Web site claims that the chemical plant conducts independent tests on chalks, coatings and sealants.
— with Stacey Knot
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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