ALAMO — This affluent, typically quiet community became the subject of a criminal investigation of “Breaking Bad” proportions after police discovered a suspected meth lab operating right next door to a fire station, according to authorities.
It all started around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, when a rental property on the 1000 block of Stone Valley Road burst into flames. The responding firefighters did not have to travel far; the property was right next door to San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Station 32.
After dealing with the fire, emergency responders called in hazmat and police investigators, who seized three barrels full of suspected methamphetamine or precursor chemicals. They also seized various equipment believed to be involved in the manufacturing of the drug.
The news site News 24-680 reported that neighboring homes were “rocked” by the blast and that traffic on Stone Valley Road was shut down while the hazmat team was there.
Police say three people were seen frantically fleeing the area immediately after the blast, including two men who drove off in a Dodge Ram pickup truck, and one other who left on foot.
During the 1980s and 90s, Contra Costa County was known as a hot bed for methamphetamine production, but restrictions on the availability of precursors have allowed out-of-country drug cartels to corner the market. Still, methamphetamine production is not unheard of; a similar bust occurred in Pacheco six years ago, and in 2019 a man was arrested in connection with a makeshift lab set up in San Ramon, according to authorities.