Family Unknowingly Rents Room to Meth Cook

December 8, 2020 Updated: December 8, 2020

A Santa Ana family unknowingly rented a guest suite out to a man who turned it into a meth lab, police say.

The room was permanently detached from the main residence, and was inaccessible from inside the house, said Sgt. Robert Cortes.

“There was no access to get from within their house to this room,” Cortes told The Epoch Times. “They were completely unaware of what was going on in there.”

The homeowners had young children living in the home, and were oblivious to the hazardous meth lab on the property, said police.

Epoch Times Photo
Items from a meth lab discovered by police in Santa Ana, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2020. (Courtesy of the Fountain Valley Police Department)

The investigation began in Fountain Valley, California, but ultimately led police to the 17000 block of Stearns Drive in Santa Ana, where they executed a narcotics-related search warrant Nov. 17.

“We found the meth lab, and we found methamphetamine in the room,” Cortes said. “With the family living there with small children, this could have been bad.”

When officers made contact with the man renting the room, they found oxygen tanks and a propane tank. They could “smell gas and chemicals” coming from the room, and decided not to enter. They called their suspect out of the unit.

“He was surprised,” Cortes said. “He was cooperating with us through the entire investigation.”

The meth lab consisted of various chemicals, heating instruments, and equipment located inside the suite.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad arrived to ensure the scene was safe. From there, a lab team investigated and processed the scene.

Christian Gibbons, 28, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, manufacturing of a controlled substance, and child endangerment. He is being held at the Orange County Jail on $75,000 bail.

“You really don’t see that kind of stuff anymore,” Cortes said. “I’ve been an officer for 15 years and I’ve never seen one of these. So, it was quite a surprise when we stumbled into it.”