York County drug agents on Tuesday busted a meth lab allegedly operated by a father and son across from Winthrop University.
Martin Leonard Zalucha, 50, and Nicholas Martin Zalucha, 28, were arrested Tuesday and placed in the Moss Justice Center in York on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, according to jail records. Each remained jailed Wednesday under $25,000 bond.
Agents busted the meth lab, which was being operated in a house on the 1000 block of Park Avenue Extension, according to Marvin Brown, commander of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit. Investigators had the home, which is converted into several apartments, under surveillance recently. Brown said there were multiple people at the home during the weekend.
Martin and Nicholas Zalucha had discarded three one-pot, or “shake and bake,” meth labs in the garbage bin outside the home, Brown said. They tried to neutralize some of the chemicals by dumping motor oil on the items.
The home, which is occupied by several tenants, is across Cherry Road from Winthrop University and near several businesses. Hazmat crews responded to clean up the items and chemicals.
“That’s probably one of the worst places to have a meth lab,” Brown said. “You’ve got two restaurants, a third business, a school. It could have very easily exploded. The house could have burned down.”
Business owners react
Two business owners told The Herald they were appreciative of the law enforcement action.
“I didn’t know,” said Cale Medley, district manager of Groucho’s Deli, who said he didn’t often drive on Park Avenue Extension. “Every criminal off the street is not selling drugs, not hurting people, not blowing up meth labs. It’s a shame to see it here in the neighborhood.”
One area business owner, who asked to not to be identified, said he had called the police for help twice after a string of run-ins with the two men.
The owner said the men would often hang around his business, urinate between garbage bins, leave beer or soda cans in the parking lot, use his Wi-Fi and make his customers and staff uncomfortable.
“I could tell they were sketchy,” the business owner said. “Their clothing was unkempt, they obviously didn’t care about their physical appearance. It’s just not the type of people you want around your establishment.”
The meth lab is within half a mile of Groucho’s Deli, Dragon Express, Substation II, Shepherds Fold Books and a Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority house. Winthrop’s Thomson Hall, a main cafeteria for many students, is across Cherry Road.
“This could be a nice little mix of community between Winthrop and Rock Hill, but there’s a meth lab brought in the middle of it,” Medley said. “It defeats the purpose of people wanting to move closer to here.”