Residents of Tarboro Way in north Ceres became unsettled Monday morning when police discovered a clandestine methamphetamine lab in the neighborhood and a hazardous material team moved in for a clean-up operation.
The discovery was prompted by a visit to a Modesto hospital after the resident of the home - who is also the suspect - drove himself there for treatment of chemical exposure. The Ceres resident, Edgar Yoel Palafox, 24, told hospital staff members that a man entered his home and sprayed him with chemicals. Suspicious hospital staffers notified Ceres Police of the incident. Officers went to 1925 Tarboro Way with firefighters.
Nobody was at home at the time. Inside one of the bedrooms police officers and firefighters found evidence of a methamphetamine manufacturing operation, including acetone. The Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency seized 20 pounds of solid and liquid methamphetamine and $2,000 in cash believed to be from the sale of drugs.
A county hazardous materials team suited up to dispose of the dangerous chemicals.
By the time police realized they had a possible meth lab, the suspect had been discharged. Palafox was at large as of press time and wanted for questioning for the manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of narcotics for sale.
Sgt. Jose Berber said that police are unsure if Palafox had an unintended medical problem with the chemicals in the house, if his story was true about being sprayed by an intruder or if he was delusional about what occurred due to exposure to the chemicals.