SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Dangerous drug labs are exploding in local neighborhoods. CBS13 uncovered new details after the most recent honey oil lab went up in flames.
The vapors are still lingering from the latest blast from a cannabis drug lab inside a Rio Linda business. The Rio Linda explosion is just the latest example of how dangerous hidden honey oil labs can be.
“That was a very large operation, very elaborate operation and had a lot of money invested just in the equipment,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton.
One suspect is still in the hospital and could face felony drug charges if he survives.
“They were using industrial grade cylinders that were over 4 feet tall and contained a large amount of butane,” Hampton said.
Honey Oil labs are so dangerous because the process involves extracting concentrated THC from marijuana using butane, a flammable odorless gas. Those vapors can be ignited from common items including a refrigerator motor, a wall outlet, or even static electricity, triggering an instant explosion.
Hampton called it a very volatile situation. The danger from these labs is as far-reaching as the flames are ferocious. And they are not just limited to industrial areas.
In Sacramento, 90 percent of the explosions have come from homes or apartments. One explosion last October happened in a Stockton house that destroyed two cars and seriously burned a six-year-old.
In January another explosion happened at a South Sacramento mobile home park.
“They can be anywhere and that’s what’s troubling about them,” Hampton said.
Officers say the growing popularity of vape pens is increasing the demand for the oils produced in these labs.
“Last year the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department investigated a total of 12 of these,” Hampton said.
The labs are illicit, illegal, and undetected… until they blow up.
“They’re common enough and their dangerous enough that folks need to be aware,” Hampton said.
The honey oil lab problem is so bad in our area that both Sacramento City and County leaders have passed laws putting a cap on the number of butane canisters people can buy.