Chief Michael P. Murphy
150 Park St.
North Reading, MA 01864
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
North Reading Police Charge Two After Drug Manufacturing Operation Found in Aftermath of House Fire
Pair Charged with Manufacturing MDMA
NORTH READING — Chief Michael P. Murphy reports that arrest warrants have been issued for two men after an alleged drug manufacturing operation was uncovered when police officers and firefighters responded to a house fire last week.
After an investigation by the North Reading Police Department, LOWELL NAVARRO, AGE 28, and JACOB STANISH, AGE 31 , BOTH OF NORTH READING have been charged with:
- Unlawful Manufacturing of a Class B Controlled Substance (MDMA)
- Conspiracy to Violate Drug Laws
Police are currently seeking both suspects.
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 11:45 p.m., North Reading Police and Fire units responded to 6 Travelled Way for a reported structure fire. Police officers arrived minutes later to find the house fully engulfed in flames. Officers noted a strange odor coming from the house and plumes of thick black smoke, neither of which are typically associated with a house fire.
On scene, North Reading Police Officers and North Reading Firefighters quickly determined, from their training and experience, that there was a possible drug manufacturing operation in the home. Out of an abundance of caution, a hazardous materials team and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Clandestine Drug Lab Response Team were summoned to respond.
Once the flames were quelled and a search warrant could be obtained, investigators made their way inside the home and located a hidden, unfinished room with a venting system and glass laboratory case. Police also found chemicals as well as other evidence pointing to a drug manufacturing operation used to create MDMA/Ecstasy.
Given the danger of the chemicals found in the home, and the close proximity of houses in the neighborhood, Chief Murphy praised the quick work of first responders to arrive quickly and put out the fire.
“This was an extremely dangerous situation, in which a drug lab was operating in a residential neighborhood with houses stacked closely to one another,” Chief Murphy said. “We are very fortunate that no one was injured or killed.”
Chief Murphy encourages parents to have frank and earnest discussions with their children about MDMA and drug use.
“Unfortunately, there’s a demand for drugs like Ecstasy. If people knew the noxious chemicals that went into drugs like Ecstasy and some other synthetic drugs, they would think twice before using it,” Chief Murphy said. “The home in question was full of deadly, burning chemicals that presented an extremely dangerous situation for first responders and neighbors.”
The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation.