December 1st, 2007 03:56 EST
Drug lab equipment donated to University of Hawaii by ICE
HONOLULU - Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) joined faculty members from the University of Hawaii at Manoa's this morning to display an array of laboratory equipment and chemicals ICE donated to the school's chemistry department.
The items were seized by ICE two years ago as part of a probe into a large-scale methamphetamine production scheme. The case resulted in a 10-year prison sentence for one of the key defendants and made local headlines when investigators discovered large quantities of liquid methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and thousands of dollars worth of laboratory equipment inside a storage locker used by a ring operating under the H-1 freeway in Makiki.
"We truly appreciate this generous gift from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement," said UH Professor Thomas Craven, interim dean of natural sciences. "The high cost of trying to replace lab equipment within a limited budget makes this gift very useful and extremely appreciated."
"We're glad that this equipment – once intended to produce drugs – will instead be used in our graduate chemistry classes to produce researchers and teachers," added UH Professor Thomas Hemscheidt, chairman of the chemistry department.
The investigation into the methamphetamine production scheme began in 2005, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized several parcels containing iodine crystals and ammonium chloride – both used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Further investigation by ICE, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Hawaii Narcotics Enforcement Division and the Honolulu Police Department led to several arrests and the recovery of the laboratory equipment.
"We are pleased that these materials, which were the tools of a dangerous criminal enterprise, will now be put to use to further research and education benefiting our entire community," said Wayne Wills, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Hawaii.
-- ICE --