Drug lab discovered in Aptos vacation home


(Members of the Santa Cruz Hazardous Materials Interagency Team join Aptos/La Selva firefighters Friday on Sea Terrace Way Friday in Aptos where Sheriff's deputies discovered an illegal drug lab inside a vacation rental home. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Regist

APTOS—Multiple Santa Cruz County law enforcement agencies responded Friday afternoon to the discovery of a butane honey oil (BHO) lab at 120 Sea Terrace Way in Aptos.

Homeowners of the large vacation rental home were checking on the residence and noticed doors kicked in and a strong chemical smell coming from somewhere inside, Sgt. Brian Cleveland of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said.

What was found was a “closed-loop system," an apparatus used to extract butane honey oil, which is added to marijuana products to give them a stronger effect.

The Santa Cruz County Hazardous Material Interagency Team responded to the scene Friday, preparing equipment and special apparatus to clear the home of any hazardous materials.

Cleveland said that the BHO system found was sophisticated and very costly. They are often sold and rented on the black market.

Such labs are known to cause massive explosions when extraction practices go wrong, as BHO contains extremely potent concentrates.

“It’s a very dangerous setup,” Cleveland said. “This kind of thing should definitely not be done in a residential area.”

Santa Cruz Public Works were called out to shut down Sea Terrace Way from both west and east ends of the block.

Julie Lynn, a resident who lives next door to the large, two-story house, was watching the scene unfold.

“It’s absolutely crazy to think what was going on right here,” Lynn said.

Cleveland said that they are continuing to process evidence and that the Hazardous Material Interagency Team was still investigating.

As of 5 p.m. officials remained on the scene.


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