MONTREAL -- Quebec provincial police said they dismantled a synthetic drug laboratory in Danville in the Eastern Townships of Quebec on Saturday.

The bust comes a day after four suspects were arrested in Danville, Montreal and Terrebonne.

The suspects, two men and two women, have been detained and appeared in court by phone on Friday. Their next appearance is scheduled for Monday at the courthouse in Drummondville, where they are expected to be arraigned on several drug-related charges.

"We know that these people are suspected of being important players in a structured network that produced and sold a large quantity of methamphetamines on a regular basis,'' said Surete du Quebec spokesman Stéphane Tremblay.

The laboratory in question is one of  six places, including the homes of the suspect, raided by police as part of an investigation launched in the fall of 2019.  The investigation employed about 50 police officers in all, including 21 who took part in the raid Saturday morning in Danville.

More than $90,000 in cash, several firearms, several kilograms of methamphetamines and one kilogram of cocaine were seized in the raid, Tremblay said.

Tremblay said dismantling a synthetic drug laboratory, especially one of this magnitude, is generally a delicate operation.

"Laboratories often use chemicals and solvents that are volatile. There is a high risk of fire, even explosion in some cases," he said.

Drug traffickers are not overly concerned about how to dispose of products used in the production of their illicit goods, which creates a problem for the neighbourhood, Tremblay added.

"Just to give you an idea of ​​the size ... it is said that for each kilogram of methamphetamines produced, between five and six kilos of toxic waste are produced," Tremblay said.

"Obviously, often this toxic waste is often poured down the drain or into fields, to the detriment of the environment," he added

The operation Saturday morning was led by the Drummondville Organized Crime Coordination and Investigation Team (EECCO), which brings together police officers from the Sûreté du Québec as well as municipal police forces from Montreal and Terrebonne.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2020.