Sheriff's deputies shut down large BHO lab

Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office – Equipment used to create butane honey oil is shown in a garage on the 1000 block of Cathedral Drive in Aptos. 

APTOS — Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday discovered and shut down what investigators described as one of the largest butane honey oil labs the department has seen in years.

According to SCSO Sgt. Brian Cleveland, deputies responded to a property on Tuesday near the 1000 block of Cathedral Drive in Aptos for reports of a suspicious vehicle being loaded with bags containing a large amount of marijuana.

Deputies arrived and found butane canisters, loose-leaf marijuana, and a large amount of butane honey oil (BHO), a processed, concentrated form of marijuana.

Detectives served a search warrant at the property on Wednesday and found a lab created to make BHO in a pop-up garage on the property.

The lab contained about 3,000 pounds of loose marijuana, 25 pounds of processed BHO, eight firearms, ammunition, gun parts, and cash.

The cost of the equipment located in the garage was estimated at $40,000 dollars, Cleveland said.

The sheriff’s office did not release the names of the suspects in the case, who are 23 and 24. Both left before deputies served the warrant, and are still at large.

Cleveland said that investigators know who the suspects are, and that the department is “confident” they will be arrested.

They face charges of manufacturing BHO, possession of altered firearms and possession of firearms in a drug lab.

Sheriff Jim Hart said the operation was a dangerous drug lab that was set up in a residential neighborhood in a heavily wooded area.

“I am appreciative of the alert community member who called this in and for the quick response from my deputy sheriffs,” he said.

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