The wildfires that have destroyed countless homes in Australia have uncovered an illegal drug lab operated by a father and his son.
Authorities explained that they were in the process of raiding the operation when the wildfires started, forcing them postpone the arrest until a later date. According to Reuters, the men used this opportunity to set fire to their lab. Both individuals have since been arrested.
The police said in a recent statement:
“The two sites were only accessible by foot and required police to trek through tick, leech and snake-infested scrubland to reach them.
The 55-year-old father and his 27-year-old son set a fire to destroy the lab before police could arrive. As a result, over 123 acres of the Blue Mountains National Park were scorched in the process. Thankfully, no homes were destroyed in the process.
According to Softpedia, both men have already appeared in Sutherland Local Court. They currently remain in police custody.
Police said about the illegal drug operation:
“We will allege the two outdoor laboratories were capable of producing batches of more than five kilograms (11 lbs) at a time, and had potentially been operating for a number of years. That makes this among the largest drug manufacturing operations located in NSW.
“Fortunately, though the tremendous work of the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service, the blaze was contained to an area of 50 hectares (123 acres) within the national park and did not damage homes.”
The Daily Telegraph explains that wildfires in the area have destroyed more than just illegal drug labs. Dozens of homes have been destroyed as a result of the intense blaze. The fires even came close to the Siding Springs Observatory, which houses several high-power telescopes.
The men whose drug lab was uncovered during the Australian wildfires have been charged with contaminating a water catchment area and manufacturing an illegal drug on a massive scale. The son has been charged with starting the fire.