Officials release photos of sprawling rural hash oil operation

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SAN DIEGO — Officials say they discovered an illegal hash oil lab in rural Warner Springs area north of Julian.

The lab, on Chihuahua Valley Road, was spread across three trailers on a property.

Extraction labs take THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and use it to create a highly concentrated oil that’s often used in vaporizers and edible products.

The process commonly uses butane, a gas that can linger and release explosive gas clouds in addition to posing a significant fire risk, officials explained.

“This was an unpermitted, black-market operation in violation of both federal and state laws,” said a DEA spokesperson. “It posed a significant danger of fire and environmental contamination to the community of Warner Springs — a place where families live and wildlife thrives.”

Agents said four people were arrested, and large quantities of hash oil, marijuana, butane and sophisticated lab equipment were confiscated along with 14 guns.

The DEA said the Warner Springs lab was 15 times larger than the operation that recently caused an explosion at a home in Mira Mesa.

A similar operation caused a fire in a second-story suite above an El Cajon car dealership.

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