"It's really scary:" Officials in Appleton believe they have discovered a DMT lab

APPLETON (WITI) -- Residents in an Appleton neighborhood were stunned after a suspected drug lab was uncovered on their block. Investigators say they were looking for marijuana, but what they found was a much different drug and a much different operation.

"I can barely breathe because it's really scary. It's really scary to know it was that close to us," Sandra Harper said.

Three weeks into a drug trafficking investigation - investigators armed with a search warrant entered a home on Sylvan Avenue Tuesday evening, October 7th looking for pot.

The Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group found a quarter pound of marijuana -- but that's not all.

"We found what we believe or are alleging was a DMT lab. We did not anticipate finding a lab at that location, so we wound up sort of surprised at what we found," Brad Dunlap with the Winnebago County Metropolitan Enforcement Group said.

Investigators wearing hazmat suits cleared the house of items they believe were used to make dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT. It's a hallucinogenic drug people generally smoke or inject.

"The manufacture process involves some chemicals that have the potential for explosion and or fire and that's why we had hazmat and fire crews out there," Dunlap said.

The suspect, an Appleton man who lives in the home, was in the driveway when officers arrived, but Dunlap says they did not arrest him. Authorities say first, they need to confirm what they believe they found.

"Based on the interviews, we believe that assessment is correct, but until we get results back from the Crime Lab we won't be able to confirm that and that's also the reason we're holding off on charges," Dunlap said.

While authorities say the public is no longer in danger, neighbors say their main concern is the safety of the neighborhood.

"There's a lot of kids that live around here -- not just me and my daughter, but like all the way down the block there's children around her same age," Christina Metros said.

So what is DMT? It's commonly known on the street as Fantasian or Businessman's LSD.

Officials say people smoke it with marijuana, snort it or brew it in tea.

It is extracted from the bark of a mimosa tree using chemicals like lighter fluid.

The mimosa tree is native to South America, and the substance is known to be used in Shaman rituals.

Appleton police say only five DMT labs have been found in the state in the last five years.