Authorities raid butane hash lab

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate May 06, 2014 11:39 am

 The largest hash lab ever found in Del Norte County was raided by the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office Felony Investigation Unit on Friday.

After serving a search warrant at 303 Elk Valley Road, officers discovered that almost every room in the house was used for the commercial manufacturing of butane-extracted hash oil, a concentrated, high-potency cannabis substance that has grown in popularity in recent years and can be sold for up to $100 per gram, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Brian Schlam, 51, of the Elk Valley address and Jordan Brooks, 23, of Fountain Valley were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing of a controlled substance. The manufacturing of hash oil is treated the same as the manufacturing of methamphetamine even if the person has a medical marijuana card.

“Even if you have a compassionate use card or medical marijuana card, you cannot use chemicals to take THC away from marijuana — it’s illegal,” said Sgt. Richard Griffin.

The house was reported to the Sheriff’s Office by a concerned citizen and suspicion was also raised in recent months when National Park Service law enforcement smelled a strong marijuana order coming from the house during a traffic stop.

Griffin said there is strong evidence, including payout sheets and other documentation of sales, indicating the butane hash oil was being produced for sale and shipped out of the area.

The house was racking up a $1,300 a month power bill, Griffin said.

Sheriff’s deputies found at least one pound of processed hash oil, at least 200 marijuana plants growing inside and outside of the house, several 55-gallon trash bags filled with marijuana trim and bud, large pots for manufacturing and glassware filled with substance for manufacturing hash oil.

“Basically this whole house is like a conversion lab,” Griffin said.

There was also a loaded .357 revolver and an unloaded shotgun found in the house, according to Sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven.

There were many signs of business transactions related to the hash oil but “no signs of legitimate income,” Steven said.

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