A Tuesday night raid in a quiet Metairie neighborhood was part of an investigation into alleged steroid sales over the Internet, according to Jefferson Parish officials.
Sheriff Harry Lee said Edward and Natalie Barton were allegedly manufacturing steroids and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) at a lab in their in their Tabony Street home.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Customs agents were at the home Tuesday night removing containers of a white powder.
Several barrels were removed from the home
Lee said the business the couple allegedly ran, liquidresearch.com, mixed the chemicals and distributed them via the Internet and in the metro New Orleans area.
Edward Barton was charged with possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, creation of clandestine lab, possession of GBL (a compound synonymous with steroid use), possession of marijuana, and possession of controlled dangerous substance in the presence of minor, the couple’s 3-year-old son.
Natalie Barton was charged with creation of clandestine lab, possession of GBL, possession of marijuana, and possession of controlled dangerous substance in the presence of minor.
Christopher Durel, identified as an employee of the operation, was charged with creation of clandestine lab and possession of GBL.
Officials said the investigation is ongoing to determine magnitude of the operation.
An unnamed relative of the Barton’s, who said they work with the couple in their home, said they have done nothing illegal.
According to a disclaimer on the website, “all research products offered by Liquid Research are intended for laboratory and research use only.”
METAIRIE, La. -- Investigators have arrested three people and the probe is expanding after chemicals were seized Tuesday in what officials are calling the largest drug bust in the history of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.
Edward Barton, 27, Natalie Barton, 25, and Christopher Durel, 26, face charges that include possession with intent to distribute an illegal substance, possession of a controlled substance and operating an illegal lab.
Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m., agents with the DEA and the Jefferson Parish Narcotics Unit, and members of the Jefferson Parish Fire Department and the U.S. Postal Inspector's Office confiscated more than a dozen containers from the home in the 4700 block of Tabony Street in Metairie. Hazardous materials crews were then brought in to help clear out the house.
Investigators said the Bartons were selling the substance GBL -- a precursor to the date rape drug GHB -- out of the home and over the Internet. The Bartons allegedly were operating under the company name NuRave Inc.
In addition to the chemicals, agents also seized marijuana from the home, Sheriff Harry Lee said.
The Bartons have a 3-year-old child. It was not immediately clear whether the child was in the home at the time of the arrests. Investigators are analyzing computer data and customer lists seized in the raid, and more charges may be forthcoming.
Neighbors told WDSU NewsChannel 6 reporter Heath Allen that the residents of the home were new to the neighborhood, were friends of the homeowner and had moved in a couple of months ago. Neighbors said a man who lives at the home made his living selling a growth hormone.
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