Ahh, Laurel Heights. A fairly quiet and well-off little neighborhood in San Francisco filled with boutiques, coffee shops, and, apparently, a meth house (they also dabbled in identity-fraud)! According to google street view, 24 – 26 Manzanita in Laurel Heights is an unassuming duplex. The tax records list the owner as a “Prato Nello J” with a mailing address of 26 Manzanita. It appears that he has owned the property since 1988. Finally, my online sleuthing also appears to show that the owner is an attorney who was admitted to the state bar in 1962 and has been running his practice out of the same address. Insert your favorite joke about attorneys right here. And/or the one liner about one-stop shopping…
One of the individuals arrested, according to the SF Appeal article was a San Francisco resident John Prato, who may or may not be related to the property owner (although I’m going to jump out on a limb and say: yes, they are related). In addition to the precursors needed for methamphetamine production, they also found the supplies needed to make GHB, commonly known as the “date-rape” drug.
The last house to sell in Laurel Heights on the street was 59 Manzanita, a 5 bedroom 4 bath house that closed towards the end of October with a sales price of $1,680,000 (above the asking price of $1,599,000). A few doors down from the meth-house in question is 18 Manzanita, which sold in 2008 for $2,560,000 after being listed for $2,295,000.
It’s all rather surprising given the white-collar flavor of the neighborhood, and the fact that a playground can be found at the end of the street. So what’s the story, do you think? Prodigal son gone bad? Older man unawares of the nefarious behavior going on directly below him because he was blinded by familial love or incapacitated by dementia? Only time will tell the real sordid story, but in the mean time feel free to make up your own (and share it in the comments). Then, start your research on what to know when buying your own used meth lab because I have a hunch we’ll see this place on the market one of these years.