The Kern County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit raided an illegal large-scale, commercial grade marijuana concentrate laboratory in an area in northwest metropolitan Bakersfield, confiscating more than $9 million in cannabis products.
The Sheriff’s Office described the lab as one of the largest ever encountered in Kern County.
“This type of operation is highly dangerous to not only the suspects, but the public as well,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “If any piece of equipment was to fail, or the suspects were to put the equipment together incorrectly, the operation could have caused an explosion in the building causing serious bodily injury or death.”
The lab, located at the 21110 block of Snow Road, was the subject of a long term investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.
The department also executed a search warrant at a residence at the 7000 block of Norris Road as part of the investigation.
The lab was used to chemically extract THC from marijuana plants using propane and butane in order to create “Honey Oil,” the Sheriff’s Office said. The oil is then further refined using denatured alcohol.
The Sheriff’s Office said the lab was provided an unknown amount of illegal marijuana concentrates to an unknown amount of marijuana dispensaries in Kern County and possibly other counties and states.
As part of the raid, the Sheriff’s Office confiscated 2,523 pounds of processed marijuana with an estimated street value of $2.5 million, 287 pounds of marijuana concentrate with an estimated street value of $6.5 million, two shotguns and two rifles, $22,680 in currency, six commercial-grade marijuana concentrate extraction vessels, three of which were active at the time of the raid. They also took 21 propane tanks containing 100 pounds of propane in each tank, 96 cans of butane, seven baking ovens, numerous items of glassware, a large roto-evaporator, distilling equipment, industrial freezers and air purifiers.
Justin Merrick, 32, and Troy Hines, 38, were arrested for manufacturing of a controlled drug, conspiracy and for illegal sales of marijuana.
They were both booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Central Receiving Facility.