Butane honey oil lab found in Fresno County

April 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities have disposed of some potentially explosive material discovered in the Fresno County foothills.

Josh Chrisman definitely has a knack for finding things that seem out of place. Tuesday morning, he found something that dozens of other drivers passed by. He turned around, called it in and then took a closer look at the device.

"Fortunately I have zoom on the camera I was able to zoom in and get pictures from the roadway."

Chrisman knows every turn along his windy way to work from the Fresno County foothills to the Cal Fire station where he works in Sanger. He's even narrowed down a time frame he figures the pipe was put there.

"I'm almost positive it wasn't there yesterday about 5 o'clock when I went through there," said Chrisman. "So sometime during the evening, during the night, or this morning it got placed there or fell off in that area."

Lieutenant John Reynolds of the sheriff's explosive ordnance disposal team says the pipe concerned deputies for several reasons.

"Definitely suspicious device," said Lieutenant John Reynolds. "Galvanized steel pipe, end caps on both ends, a hole on one end as well and that's something we would see common with a pipe bomb."

Once it was methodically taken apart, the team discovered it wasn't a pipe bomb- but just as dangerous. The pipe was filled with marijuana and used to make butane honey oil, a concentrated oil filled with t-h-c, the active ingredient in pot.

Rick Ko with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "Those labs are very dangerous, the extraction method they use, generally involves butane which is very flammable and they expose it to a heat source to and are very volatile. We've had a number of explosions."

A can of butane was also found a short distance away from the pipe. Deputies say these butane honey oil labs are growing in popularity, and they are flammable, just like meth labs.

Chrisman says it's the most unusual discovery he's made, and he's glad he stopped. The area where he found it is a place traveled by many, including children and teens.

"I know in that area in particular, there's a lot of kids, after school riding their bikes, I was concerned somebody would find it and be playing with it," said Chrisman.

Deputies are now processing the material for fingerprints and evidence. This is the third honey oil lab Fresno County deputies have discovered this year.


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