Sixth hash oil lab dismantled by DEA within three week period
LEMON GROVE, Calif. – Yesterday the United States Drug Enforcement Administration executed a federal search warrant at a warehouse located at 7648 Lemon Avenue, Lemon Grove, Calif., and uncovered a sophisticated hash oil refinery laboratory operation. Large quantities of ethanol were removed from the property by San Diego County HAZMAT. his is the sixth hash oil laboratory DEA has dismantled in San Diego County within the past three weeks. Explosions occurred at two of these locations, sending four people to the hospital with serious burns.
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is a toxic, volatile, highly flammable colorless liquid and vapor that can cause skin and eye irritation and may also cause respiratory irritation. This quantity of ethanol could have caused extensive fire damage. Lemon Avenue had to be shut down for approximately six hours yesterday, which affected multiple businesses.
Agents seized large quantities of finished hash oil, valued over $6.75 million, and sophisticated laboratory equipment, valued over $2 million.
This laboratory was not licensed by the State of California or the County of San Diego and was operating in violation of federal law.
San Diego County HAZMAT and San Diego City HAZMAT responded to assist with clean-up of this extensive laboratory operation.
Hash oil, also known as THC or honey oil, is commonly extracted from marijuana plant material using volatile solvents. As the solvent is introduced into marijuana plant material, it bonds with THC, and an oily substance is created. After the solvent evaporates or is removed, an end product which can be up to 90% more potent than traditional marijuana is created. Refining is the process of making the hash oil as pure as possible. Hash oil is often consumed in e-cigarettes and vaporizers; found in edible products like cookies, brownies and gummy candies; topicals/ lotions, tinctures, capsules, and patches.
Two adult males were arrested. This is an ongoing investigation, and no further details can be released at this time.
Excessive flammable solvent containers and unusual chemical odors can be telltale signs of a hash oil extraction or refinery lab. If you are aware of an illegal hash oil extraction or refinery laboratory in your neighborhood, please call DEA at (858) 616-4100.
Other agencies involved in this case were the United States Attorney’s Office, San Diego County HAZMAT, San Diego City HAZMAT, and San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
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