Investigators: Drug lab caused explosions in south Fulton

After massive PCP lab explosion in Fulton, two men sentenced to prison

Two metro Atlanta men have been sentenced to years in prison for running a drug lab officials deemed as one of the largest in the country. The lab exploded in 2013.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced that Coleman Warnock, a 46-year-old Powder Springs man, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Adrian Banks, a 44-year-old Douglasville man, got 20 years. Both were convicted of conspiracy and drug distribution charges.

The men were working inside the drug lab when chemicals caught fire and exploded on July 6, 2013. The lab was located inside Banks’ home in the 6900 block of Hobgood Road in Fairburn.

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Over the next two days, the home burned to the ground. No one died in the fire, but court documents said both men were “seriously injured.”

Investigators found barrels and canisters of chemicals. They also found protective equipment that had the DNA of the men, prosecutors said.

Federal court documents indicate that authorities found 18.8 kilograms of phencyclidine — known as PCP or “angel dust” — after the fire.

The Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center has said that 10mg is enough to elicit illusions and auditory hallucinations, meaning authorities found 1.8 million hits of PCP at the house. (A popular consumption method is dipping cigarettes of marijuana or tobacco into liquid PCP before smoking them or adding the powdered/crystallized form.)

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“The clandestine PCP manufacturing site in south Fulton County was one of the largest ever discovered on the east coast,” Robert J. Murphy, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Atlanta leader, said in the announcement.

According to court files, the men had owned a restaurant together, but when that failed they decided to manufacture PCP for money.

Warnock’s criminal record stretches back to the 1990s from when he grew up in Compton, California, according to court records. Banks has previously been a convicted for trafficking drugs.

Once they are released, they each face five years of supervised release and must each pay $85,000 in restitution.

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