Marijuana Labs Popping Up in San Diego

pot leaf
NBC4

Hash oil extraction labs are popping up around San Diego County. Thirty have been found so far this year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“No one knows where they are and when the next one will blow up,” said Norm Clay, a property manager.

In January, people were rushed to the hospital after a hash oil lab exploded at the Heritage Inn.

In June in Encanto, a home explosion was so strong that it blasted a hole in the ceiling and sent a refrigerator flying into another room. A 7-year-old boy was caught in the middle of the explosion.

On Monday in Vista, a home was gutted by a fire where 14 marijuana plants were found.

“It’s an extremely dangerous process, and many people have been injured in the process with third degree burns,” said Todd Burton of the San Diego County HazMat Team. “We’re lucky that nobody has lost their life at this point.”

The DEA is working with local law enforcement to crack down on extraction labs and grow operations. But officials say it’s going to take a community effort.

"The smell of these lab operations is quite pronounced, and we can report an unusual smells or activity that may indicate one of these dangerous operations in our neighborhood,” Clay said.

Marijuana By The Numbers

  • 120,084: Plants seized in 2013
  • 1,13: Grow operations busted (58 outdoor and 55 indoor)
  • $379,217: Approximate value of drugs seized
  • 89: People arrested

(Source: Drug Enforcement Administration)

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