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Kern County Sheriff's Office - Public Information Officer
Wednesday November 28th, 2018 :: 06:29 p.m. PST


Members of the Kern County Sheriff's Office execute search warrants on an illegal, chemical marijuana extraction lab.

On November 27, 2018, members of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit (STC-HIDTA), with the assistance of the Kern County Probation Department and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, executed search warrants in the 21110 block of Snow Road and the 7000 block of Norris Road, in Bakersfield.  These search warrants were executed after a long term investigation into a large scale, commercial grade, marijuana concentrate chemical extraction laboratory.  During the search of the residence and industrial building, detectives located the following items:

-2,523lbs of processed marijuana with an estimated street value of $2,523,000.

-287lbs of marijuana concentrate with an estimated street value of $6,514,900.

-Two shotguns and two rifles.

-$22,680.00 in currency.

-Six commercial grade marijuana concentrate extraction vessels, three of which were active at the time of the search warrant execution.

-21 propane tanks containing 100lbs of propane in each tank and 96 cans of butane.

-Other laboratory equipment such as seven baking ovens, numerous items of glassware, a large roto-evaporator, distilling equipment, industrial freezers, and air purifiers.

The suspects in the investigation were chemically extracting the THC from the marijuana using propane and butane.  This process was used to create “Honey Oil.”  They were further refining the Honey Oil using denatured alcohol.   The Kern County Fire Department Hazmat Unit and Kern County Environmental Health were dispatched to the scene due to the fire, explosive, and environmental hazards of the chemicals being used in the process.

This Honey Oil Lab was one of the largest labs encountered in Kern County and was capable of producing large amounts of illegal marijuana concentrates.  The suspects were supplying an unknown amount of illegally produced marijuana concentrates to an unknown amount of marijuana dispensaries not only in Kern County, but potentially in other counties and states. 

This type of operation is highly dangerous to not only the suspects, but the public as well.  If any piece of equipment was to fail, or the suspects were to put the equipment together incorrectly, the operation could have caused an explosion in the building causing serious bodily injury or death.

Justin Merrick (32) and Troy Hines (38) were arrested for the manufacturing of a controlled drug, conspiracy, and for the illegal sales of marijuana.  Both were booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Central Receiving Facility for felony narcotics charges pending court.

Kern County Sheriff's Office - Public Information Officer
1350 Norris Rd
Bakersfield, CA 93308

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 661-303-4592

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