A police officer responded to a south Yuba City home for a call Tuesday night and stumbled upon a large, sophisticated butane honey oil (hash oil) lab — a rarity in a residential neighborhood near a park.
The officer called narcotics and gang task force NET-5, which seized between 3 and 5 pounds of finished hash oil and around 1,000 pounds of marijuana and arrested one Yuba City man from the home in the first block of Nielson Avenue, off Percy and Wilbur avenues.
“It was a big lab, probably the biggest one we’ve found in this area,” Commander Michael Johnson said Wednesday. “The thing about it is that it is potentially very hazardous.”
Johnson said the lab was so large that had it exploded, it would have been devastating to the area and destroyed several homes.
It was a sophisticated setup with expensive glassware set up in the kitchen that was capable of producing between three and five pounds of honey oil every eight hours, Johnson said. There were three labs total on the property: one operating in the kitchen, one in the process of being built in a bedroom, and another used for further extraction and cleaning in an outbuilding.
NET-5 called Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to turn off the power before entering, and the Yuba City Fire Department was present.
“It’s not uncommon to find small (labs) with a small tube or pipe running butane for lighters through them,” Johnson said. “This one was on a commercial level.”
He credits the Yuba City police officer who, at the home on an unrelated call, noticed suspicious items throughout the house, backed out, and called for assistance — ensuring the incident was safe for law enforcement and residents.
Agents – including a few from Butte County with expertise in butane honey oil labs – were processing the home from around 4 p.m. Tuesday to midnight.
Police arrested 59-year-old Dwayne Lavalleur, who was booked into Sutter County Jail on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance.
Johnson said butane honey oil is often used in vape pen cartridges, which are sold in many places like smoke shops and online.
“It seems to be a real growing industry,” he said.