An undercover operation in San Diego County has led to the arrest of nine people suspected of making and dealing hashish oil -- a drug whose manufacture can result in deadly explosions.
Seven men and two women are set to be arraigned Friday on charges of manufacturing and trafficking the oil. Derived from marijuana, it gives users a quick and powerful high and sells for $40 to $80 a gram.
To extract hash oil from marijuana, labs use high-temperature butane, which is extremely flammable.
Twenty fires and explosions in San Diego County in the last year have been linked to the clandestine labs, causing numerous injuries, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which conducted the operation.
"Neighbors, people passing by, and the defendants themselves are placed at grave risk or serious injury or death by these illegal lab operations," said San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis.
The raids were conducted this week in San Diego, Spring Valley, Chula Vista and El Cajon as part of Operation Shattered Dreams.
A "large quantity" of hash oil was seized during the raids, along with more than $25,000 in cash, an assault rifle and marijuana, the DEA said.
Hash oil can be eaten, dabbed or smoked in a water pipe.