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Potential for explosion at busted Glendale hash-oil lab was 'huge'

Drug TraffickingCrimeCrime, Law and Justice

A Glendale man faces drug manufacturing charges after police raided a potentially explosive lab used to extract hash oil inside a garage.

Detectives seized roughly 40 pounds of marijuana, approximately 181 cans of butane, three large tubes used for extraction and about 2 ounces of “butane honey oil” — also known as hash oil — inside Andrew Hedenberg’s detached garage in the 800 block of North Glendale Avenue, police said.

“The potential for explosion is huge,” police Sgt. Toby Darby told the Glendale News-Press. “These things are blowing up all over the place.”

Two men suffered burn-related injuries last month in a suspected hash-oil explosion in the city of Commerce that set a home ablaze.

“Butane honey oil,” also called “wax,” has been a growing trend in the marijuana market. Dabs of it can be vaporized and inhaled without the smoke and pungent odor of weed, an act called “dabbing.” The method produces a stronger high even among those who have strong tolerance to cannabis.

Detectives discovered the Glendale lab after police said he reported that his girlfriend had allegedly assaulted him.

Hedenberg, 22, was taken into custody on suspicion of manufacturing the marijuana extract — as well as selling other potent drugs, including hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD and methamphetamine, Darby said.

The street value for hash oil is $100 per gram, which can run about $45 for the same amount if purchased from a dispensary, he said.

Police officials are concerned the market demand for hash oil will compel more people to attempt the dangerous manufacturing process equipped with little more than what they learn on the Internet, running the risk of an explosion.

Something as simple as turning on a light switch or static electricity can set off an explosion in a hash-oil lab, Darby said.

In 2011, the windows of an apartment on Jackson Street in Glendale were blown out after two teens attempted to make hash oil for personal use on a kitchen stove and it exploded.

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veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

Veronica Rocha is a Times Community News staff writer.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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