SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Detectives arrested two suspects Tuesday after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office found a “highly flammable” hash oil lab with cannabis concentrate estimated to be worth more than $2 million at a rural marijuana grow in Boulder Creek.
Christopher Akers, 34, of Oregon, and Michael Akers, 43, of Washington, were booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail after the lab was discovered on Tuesday.
Investigators found the lab after the sheriff’s office served a search warrant in the 600 block of Hartman Creek Road in Boulder Creek as part of an investigation into a possible unlicensed indoor cannabis cultivation operation.
The “sophisticated” lab sat inside a specially-built outbuilding and held 28 large volatile butane canisters, 1,759 pounds of cannabis plants and 136 pounds of cannabis concentrate, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
The concentrate was estimated to be worth more than $2 million, officials said.
The Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Department dealt with hazards at the lab and coordinated site cleanup and remediation, officials said.
The “highly flammable, explosive butane hash oil lab” posed a significant safety risk to residents in the area, the sheriff’s office said.
Butane hash oil is produced through extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis by using butane, heat and pressure. Since butane is highly flammable, the extraction process is dangerous and non-regulated labs pose a significant risk to public safety, officials said.
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