Police bust LSD lab in White Clay
Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 05:07
"We didn't even really want him living here," she said. "He was kind of a dick. I mean, I think he was just a dork, not really very good at relating to people."
Sometimes, when in the house by himself, Little would wait for his roommates by the door like a puppy. But the house was large and Holbrook, who considers herself a tolerant person, put up with him. He would only be there for two weeks anyways.
"I remember thinking, 'He better have his plane ticket,' " she said.
By the end of August, it appeared Little had made his exit, having officially been evicted from the house. But unbeknownst to Holbrook, Little was lingering.
On Sept. 15, 2005, a maintenance worker, whose name was not released by the state park, was sent to an old barn to look for some paint cans. That barn overlooks the creek, and next to it is Holbrook's farmhouse. It was used as secondary storage, filled, sparsely, with old paint cans, mowers and empty space.
But that afternoon the maintenance worker found something more. Standing over a table was a spindly young man, a mad scientist named Paul Little. The worker saw beakers and bottles of chemicals and he called a park ranger.
Park ranger Arthur Angelo responded first. Little told the ranger he was creating alternative fuels, but Angelo knew better. Before long, the narrow one lane road that leads to the barn was clogged with traffic - state police, DEA, HAZMAT and fire department vehicles.
In a mini-fridge in a common area of the adjacent farmhouse, DEA investigators found three glass beakers containing 2.82 kgs of a liquid chemical compound that was well on its way to becoming liquid LSD.
Holbrook said Little once brought some beakers into the kitchen while he was living with her. Knowing he studied chemistry, she did not think twice about it. According to the DEA, at least two of the chemicals held in those beakers were extremely volatile.
In an interview with police shortly after his arrest, Little dropped the alternative fuels story and admitted to manufacturing LSD.
Holbrook and her two roommates were ejected from their home after Little was arrested that afternoon. After six weeks of living with friends, they moved back in. All that remains of the ordeal are scraps of pink quarantine notices that were posted on the windows of the house by the DEA - those and a handful of bad memories.
Paul Little has not been so lucky. Once a promising chemistry student and track star, he now sits in a federal prison.
Friends of Little's said they could not imagine him ever taking drugs. One friend said Little rarely drank, and when he did, he was a lightweight. All of them wonder why, when faced with financial troubles, he decided to manufacture LSD. And they wonder whether he realized the consequences he could face if caught.
If stamped with the maximum sentence when he faces the judge in July he could be fined up to $1 million. Worse yet, he could be sent to prison for the next 20 years of his life.