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Ecstasy 'cook lab,' marijuana growhouse raided in Mastic, federal officials say

Hazmat crews prepare decontamination stations at the scene

Hazmat crews prepare decontamination stations at the scene of a raid of a suspected drug lab in Mastic on Friday. Credit: On Scene Photography /Christopher Sabella

Federal and local law enforcement officers in hazmat suits raided an Ecstasy "cook lab" and marijuana growhouse in Mastic Friday, federal officials said.

Authorities found "barrels of chemicals" and a "large quantity" of marijuana plants that led them to conclude the house on Roda Drive was being used as part of a drug sale operation, according to court papers. A law enforcement source said the marijuana was grown hydroponically and that agents seized 25 plants.

Ecstasy was also found in the house, federal officials said.

An electrician with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Joseph Guida, 48, of Elmhurst, was arrested and held without bail after being arraigned in federal court in Central Islip. Guida, who authorities said works at a waste water treatment plant in Astoria, is accused of knowingly and intentionally possessing Ecstasy and marijuana for the purpose of selling.

His federal defender, Randi Chavis, declined to comment. Guida's bail hearing was set for Monday.

The Mastic house caught the eye of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after federal customs and border protection workers intercepted a package on Dec. 5 that was mailed to Guida from China and contained a white powder used to make Ecstasy, according to court papers.

Law enforcement investigators went to Guida's home Thursday, and later, Guida called one of the homeland security agents, court documents said. In the conversation, recorded by the agent, Guida said he had a Mastic house that he "used as a 'cook lab'" to make Ecstasy and that he also grew marijuana there, the complaint against him said. 

Armed with a search warrant Suffolk police found chemicals, beakers, test tubes and powder and detected a "sharp chemical odor" consistent with the manufacture of Ecstasy at the Mastic house Thursday, according to the court complaint.

Because these chemicals are volatile, officials said they cordoned off the house overnight.

Police and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security set up a hazardous materials operation at the house Friday and cut off access to the block, the complaint said. Washing facilities for investigators were set up outside the house.

Several other agencies, including the Brookhaven Town fire marshal's office and the Mastic Volunteer Ambulance Company, were on hand Friday, but no injuries were reported, authorities said. 

Photos from the U.S. attorney's office showed agents with white protective suits and what appeared to be oxygen tanks strapped to their backs outside a large two-story house. Some photos showed a row of large barrels with a tangle of tubes, wires and pipes attached. One photo showed plastic shelves stuffed with supplies, and plastic jugs of a liquid material was on display in another. 

Other details, including the amount of Ecstasy seized, were not available as investigators continued processing the house Friday night.

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