HESPERIA – On Wednesday morning a garage burst into flames as a result of an apparent THC extraction lab authorities said. On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at around 11:15 a.m. when the Cedar Middle School which is in very close proximity was still in session the fire was reported. When the first responding deputy from the Hesperia station arrived at the home located at 8457 Long View Avenue in the City of Hesperia he arrived at the home with the front engulfed in flames and heard multiple explosions, which sounded similar to ammunition.
Through investigation, it was learned that the explosions were butane cans. The San Bernardino County Fire responded to the home and the fire was extinguished a short time later. The Sheriff’s Arson/Bomb detail were called to the scene to assist in the investigation. Together the Sheriff’s Arson/Bomb detail and the San Bernardino County Fire Inspector discovered overwhelming evidence of what they believed was a THC lab. Due to their finding, the Gangs/Narcotics Division Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) responded to the home. MET arrived and served a search warrant locating sufficient evidence that there was a THC extraction lab at the location.
Approximately 34 butane cans were found inside the garage, all rupturing with the heat of the fire and sending pieces of the cans to around 100 feet away, some landing in the street. A large high-pressure steel oxygen cylinder ruptured, tearing a large hole in the side wall of the cylinder; launching the cylinder out to the sidewalk. The roof collapsed as a result of the fire and the home all sustained major damage. During the explosion and unidentified man was inside the garage, and was transported to a local hospital, but ultimately airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
The home is located in a regular neighborhood with homes and Cedar Middle school nearby, which serves around 1000 7th and 8th-grade students. Authorities believe that the suspect was manufacturing concentrated cannabis at the home at the time of the fire and subsequent explosions. Investigators believe that the operation was capable of producing several pounds of cannabis each week. This THC extract from the marijuana is known as “honey oil”, “butane hash oil”, “wax”, “budder”, and “dabs”. This product is more concentrated that smoking the plant material, therefore it is in demand by those using cannabis. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main or active ingredient in marijuana that causes the “high” when using the drug.
The extraction process, as proven in this incident, can be very dangerous and has a high potential for explosions and fire due to the used of large amounts of flammable chemicals during extraction. The process is illegal, investigators are attempting to identify the suspects involved in the operation. Once the suspect(s) are identified a criminal report will be sent to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs / Narcotics Division at (909) 387-8400. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
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