EL MONTE (CBSLA) — Police shut down an illegal marijuana vaping operation in the San Gabriel Valley Thursday.
The bust happened at about 4:37 p.m. after police conducting a warrant search for suspected illegal marijuana vape pen sales and found large jars of butane honey oil — concentrated cannabis oil — at an office building in the 9600 block of Telstar Avenue.
Lt. Christopher Cano with the El Monte Police said officers also found a machine that was used to load vape cartridges.
“The process is very dangerous,” Cano said.
Cano, who used to work narcotics, said the process of distilling the oil for use in vape products is potentially flammable.
“Simple static electricity from our clothes can ignite these fumes causing not just a fire, but an explosion because it’s under concentration,” he said. “And if there’s multiple jars and things like that, we’re going to have one explosion after the next causing not just a fire, but we could possibly have a full complex taken out with the explosion.”
A hazmat team was called to the vacant office to take possession of the illegal and potentially dangerous substance. The value of the confiscated products and equipment was not immediately known.
Detectives said they received and anonymous tip that led to the search warrant where they discovered the illegal operation.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who’s behind the illegal vaping operation. They said they believe the person responsible set up shop in the office because the space was vacant.
While the investigation continues, officers said they wanted to make sure the illegal vaping products did not make it to the street, especially in the wake of recent headlines involving the dangers of vaping.
“This is just stuff that they don’t even know if they’re truly getting what they think that they’re buying,” Cano said. “This could be mixed with other harmful chemicals. It could be very harmful to our community, to our children, so we always caution them that they should stay away from these operations.”