December 4, 2004
Euphoria Lab Raided at Home
by Darren Simon
[MAPS Note: The term “euphoria” used throughout this news story almost certainly refers to the chemical 4-methylaminorex.]
A Broward County engineer who Fort Lauderdale police said ran a drug lab in his home was arrested.
Fort Lauderdale police and federal agents raided a drug lab late Thursday, where they said a Broward County employee was manufacturing ”pounds” of a drug called euphoria.
It was ”one of the largest clandestine labs ever located in the city of Fort Lauderdale and the southeast part of the state,” Fort Lauderdale police spokesman Andy Pallen said.
William Hahne, 46, was arrested at his home at 720 NE 17th Ct. in Fort Lauderdale, where police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than a kilogram of euphoria, chemicals and other equipment.
”The value is well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Pallen said Friday.
Hahne, who lives a few hundred feet from Fort Lauderdale High School, faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute euphoria, according to Pallen.
A CrimeStoppers tipster led Fort Lauderdale police to Hahne, Pallen said. The tipster told police that Hahne had stolen chemicals from a storage area in the Broward Government Center in June and was using them to manufacture drugs in his home, Pallen said.
”It is a very elaborate laboratory set-up,” Pallen said. “He was very organized.”
Pallen said Hahn works as an engineer in the county building. Officials said he has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech University.
Pallen said the DEA hasn’t seen the drug in their labs in more than a decade. Euphoria can be injected, inhaled or taken orally. It shares chemical properties with amphetamines and ecstasy, but lasts longer, officials said.
It is used for intellectual enhancement for activities such as writing, said Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. The drug reduces appetite and keeps people awake for as long as 36 hours, but does not create the jitters as methamphetamine does, he said. Doblin agreed that it is not widely used or known.
”I don’t know anybody that can find it,” he said.
Tom Angell of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy said he has never heard of euphoria. ”We just hope that law enforcement isn’t giving a name to what they found. That could create some hysteria about something that doesn’t really exist,” he said.
Investigators seized the powder form of the drug. One pound of euphoria can sell for $15,000 or much more if packaged individually, Pallen said.
Pallen said the chemicals could have caused an explosion or fire if improperly mixed. If inhaled in a gaseous state, they can be deadly.
All chemicals have been removed from the home.
”At this time, there is no danger to the public,” Pallen said.
Hahne has been making euphoria since June , according to a federal complaint. He received a substance used to make the drug from someone in California. Hahne would ship the individual the finished product through the mail. It would be distributed and the two would split the profits, the complaint said. Hahne’s neighbors said they didn’t know him well.
”He kept to himself pretty much,” said Paul Many, who lives across the street.
The bust happened in a neighborhood once riddled with crime, including crack and cocaine sales. Residents credit former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Tim Smith in helping to clean up. They have been doing neighborhood crime walks every Friday night.
”We solved that being vigilant and not giving up,” Smith said.
Herald staff writer Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.
Read more about 4-methylaminorex at the Erowid 4-methylaminorex vault.
The Miami Herald published a news report of the police seizure of a clandestine laboratory allegedly producing a chemical the report describes as “euphoria,” probably referring to the substance 4-methylaminorex. Rick Doblin is quoted in a brief discussion of the effects of the drug.