(WSVN) - What was found inside the $1.5 million condo just across the street from the ritzy Bal Harbour Shops made national headlines in early October. The stunning drug discovery sparked a massive response, and tonight, we’re showing you what first responders saw behind closed doors. 7’s Karen Hensel is in Bal Harbour with the exclusive video.

This was the commotion on Collins Avenue.

Resident: “They told us there’s a meth lab on the 15th floor.”

Early last month, hazmat and bomb squad teams responded to Majestic Towers in Bal Harbour when a meth lab was found inside a condo.

Miami-Dade Police detective Alvaro Zabaleta: “Because of the chemicals that are involved, this could very easily be a potential explosion.”

Three floors of the high-rise were evacuated. Federal agents with ATF and the DEA were called in.

MDPD detective Alvaro Zabaleta: “What type of chemicals are in there consistent with a clandestine lab?”

Miami-Dade Police confirmed “the clandestine laboratory was used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine.”

And now, 7News had obtained video from inside Unit 1508.

At first glance, it simply shows a big mess.

Karen Hensel: “So when you first saw the video and you saw our stories, what was your initial reaction?”

David Melenkevitz, former DEA special agent: “It’s Miami.”

We showed the video to David Melenkevitz, a former DEA special agent.

David Melenkevitz: “You don’t know whether you have dangerous gases that people shouldn’t be breathing or if you have highly volatile, explosive gases that are in the air.”

In the unit, you see a mess covering the floors and beds, and a bathroom trashed.

But on closer look, some items stand out.

David Melenkevitz: “It’s definitely a propane torch back there, might be a digital scale or pedestal to crush powder. Some other jars of potential chemicals.”

Karen Hensel: “Is this orange thing anything?”

David Melenkevitz: “It looks like it’s some type of heating element connected there.”

Miami-Dade Police tell us they have an ongoing investigation into what went down up there. But we have been able to piece together the backstory involving this condo unit, and it turns out what ended in high drama started as something very common in South Florida: an eviction case.

David Winker, attorney: “They did leave things behind. They did not leave behind a meth lab.”

Attorney David Winker represents Stephen and Iris Jacoby.

The couple, now in their 70s, had rented the condo for years, but the owner had them evicted.

Joel Magolnick, attorney: “As of April of 2020, they stopped paying the rent.”

Attorney Joel Magolnick represents the condo owner. He claims the couple “caused damage to the unit” left it “in complete disarray” with garbage, clothing, boxes and “drug paraphernalia.”

Joel Magolnick, attorney: “The night that the Jacobys left the unit, on the 30th, my client sent me a video of the condition of the unit where there was garbage thrown all over the place.”

And it is this video that prompted the emergency response.

The two attorneys clearly have a different take on what happened when the Jacobys moved out.

Winker says the property manager was with the couple at the time.

Magolnick says the couple wouldn’t let anyone in.

Joel Magolnick, attorney: “I just want to make it clear everything that was in that unit was in that unit as of the time that the Jacobys vacated.”

David Winker: “No one from law enforcement has contacted them. It seems like if it, you know, if it was an active meth lab, they would have reached out. Let’s assume that my clients were drug dealers. They had all day to clear out the apartment. It seems like the first thing you would take is the money-making mobile meth unit.”

Joel Magolnick, attorney: “I have been practicing in South Florida for a little over 33 years now. I have never seen one of my client’s cases turned into a TV show like ‘Breaking Bad.’ It’s shocking.”

And while this meth lab mystery is not the hit TV series, it is a real-life drama that does not have an ending … yet.


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