Police bust ‘hash oil’ lab downtown

No arrests reported

Law enforcement authorities uncovered an illegal marijuana extraction lab in a decrepit, unsafe building in downtown Hollister, according to police.

No arrests have been reported in relation to the raid of the property and seizure of a variety of marijuana by-products, and the police investigation is ongoing.

About 10:10am March 20, deputies from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office arrived at a commercial building on the 800 block of San Benito Street to conduct a civil eviction, according to a press release.

There were no people inside the unsecured building when deputies entered, but two dogs were found and later released to Hollister Animal Control, according to police.

Deputies did find inside the building a variety of materials associated with the illegal extraction of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from marijuana, in plain view and on the front porch, authorities said.

Upon seeing these materials, the sheriff’s office called the United Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET) to assist. UNET obtained a search warrant to further investigate the presence of a suspected, clandestine butane hash oil (BHO) laboratory inside the building, according to authorities.

As a result of the search warrant, law enforcement seized about 24 pounds of marijuana, about 82 grams of finished THC product, several used butane canisters, a case of unused butane canisters, THC extraction tubes, filters, a vacuum pump, glass dishes and a 50-pound tank of medical-grade nitrous oxide with balloons, according to the press release.

Also found at the property were indicia to a local motorcycle gang, and “support material” for a known outlaw motorcycle gang, according to police.

City of Hollister code enforcement responded to the scene and found the conditions of the building to be unsafe, and they “red-tagged” the location to prohibit entry or occupation of the premises, authorities said.

This incident marked the second marijuana-related search warrant at the same address. The first unrelated investigation of the property in 2016 involved the manufacture of THC-laced flavored “syrup,” police said.

The sheriff’s office, UNET and Hollister Police Department are working together in the ongoing investigation.

“Law enforcement would also like to remind and caution people that butane is a highly volatile, flammable and explosive substance if not maintained, stored and used as intended,” reads the press release. Within the past year, officials have responded to an unrelated residential fire in the Hollister city limits where injuries and property damage occurred due to an active BHO lab in operation in the home.

 

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