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DEA busts illegal hash oil laboratory, seizing nearly 700 pounds of cannabis


Over seven different agencies involved in operation

EL CAJON, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) uncovered an active hexane hash oil extraction laboratory.

San Diego Sheriff’s Department Marijuana Enforcement Team members said it began Friday when they carried out a state search warrant. They arrived at a warehouse to find a "sophisticated" operation.

El Cajon Fire Department firefighters helped with the investigation while San Diego deputies and DEA personnel attempted to take apart the laboratory.

San Diego County Hazmat and San Diego Fire Department Hazmat also responded to assist with the clean-up.

“Due to the flammable solvents utilized in the marijuana extraction process, these types of laboratories pose an inherent threat to public safety,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe. “The DEA and our partnering law enforcement agencies are committed to ensuring the safety of the public by dismantling dangerous labs such as this one.”

Investigators shared that they seized approximately 390 pounds of unprocessed marijuana, 150 pounds of hexane contaminated marijuana plant waste, 139 pounds of concentrated marijuana oil, sophisticated laboratory equipment, multiple 55-gallon drums containing hexane and unused butane.

“The El Cajon Police Department would like to thank all of the agents, detectives, and fire and safety personnel who assisted in this investigation,” said El Cajon Police Department Lieutenant Keith MacArthur. “These types of labs pose a significant threat to public safety. It was truly a team effort to shut down this dangerous operation.”

One adult male was arrested on states charges of manufacturing a controlled substance. The DEA has not released his name at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

The San Diego County Hazmat, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force also assisted with the operation bust.

Excessive flammable solvent containers and unusual chemical odors can be signs of a hash oil extraction lab. If you are aware of an illegal hash oil extraction laboratory in your area, please call the DEA at (858) 616-4100.

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