They may not have been body builders, but the two men arrested in a Wednesday morning raid of a suspected illegal steroid lab were working out, says one neighbour.
“He got pretty buff,” said Sandy Tharme, who lives across the street from the raided home at 49 New Street, near Dundurn St. between Main and King Sts.
In a joint effort, Ontario Provincial Police and Hamilton Police entered the suspected home of a clandestine lab at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Two Hamilton men in their 30s are in custody and will appear in court Thursday, where OPP Det. Sgt. Scott Mills says he hoped to have a better idea of the quantity and value of contents seized.
Mills confirmed that Wednesday’s raid was connected to an arrest in a Mountain home in March, also suspected of being a lab for illegal performance enhancing drugs.
While Mills said it was too early to give details on what kind of lab was found in Wednesday’s raid, he said the Mountain lab was a significant operation.
“It was a more sophisticated lab than I’m used to seeing,” said Mills.
'I just heard a big bang,' neighbour said
Both are part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation, although to date, Mills said only the two Hamilton homes have been raided as a result.
Police obtained a warrant Tuesday, and entered the home the next morning. When police entered Tharme thought it sounded like a car crash.
“I just heard a big bang,” said Tharme. “I thought it was car accident up the street.”
Other neighbours said they came out when police and emergency workers descended on the small Strathcona street.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” added Shawna Reagan. “There was 20 guys in gas mask suits with tanks on their backs.”
“It was crazy.”
Mills said whenever they raid a home suspected of housing a clandestine lab, they take every precaution when they're unaware of the contents inside. Teams entered in full HAZMAT suits, but later downgraded the protection after realizing there was no public threat or potentially harmful air toxins coming from the home.
Police say New St. will be closed between Main St. and King St. for the remainder of the day.
In March, Mills told CBC Hamilton officers found a “clandestine lab,” that they believe was manufacturing Performance Image Enhancing Drugs, or PIEDs. Once inside, other chemicals and apparatus were discovered that could point to other drugs being made there as well, he said.
“But I’m not a chemist, I don’t know what they’re making,” he said. “We’d need to have a chemist involved to tell us exactly.”