Investigators find second marijuana grow, hash-oil operation in Glendale

Three Glendale residents face drug charges after investigators uncovered a marijuana grow and hash-oil operation inside a home, making it the second such potentially explosive discovery in less than two weeks in the city.

Donovan Butez, 25, Brianna Oppenheimer, 25, and Leary Stuart Jr., 22, were arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of manufacturing hash oil as well as cultivating marijuana, police said.

The drug operation was discovered inside a home in the 1200 block of East Lexington Drive during a probation compliance check, Glendale Police Sgt. Luis Pasache said.

“It puts the community at risk,” he said, adding that the home is between two apartment buildings.

A Hazmat team responded to the scene to secure the home due its volatile condition.

Police seized approximately 10 pounds of marijuana, at least 30 butane cans and three tubes used to create the highly potent oil, he said.

“Butane honey oil” is a waxy substance that can produce a strong high for users, who can inhale or vaporize the oil without the strong odor of marijuana.

Police recovered 32 ounces of butane honey oil inside the home, Pasache said.

Hash oil has become increasingly popular among users, prompting some novices to attempt to make it in their homes.

But in some recent cases, attempts to produce the oil have resulted in explosions.

On the same day as the most recent find in Glendale, a person was injured in a suspected drug lab explosion in Malibu.

Police said the potential for an explosion was significant at a similar hash-oil operation discovered on March 29 in the 800 block of North Glendale Avenue. At that operation, police seized 2 ounces of hash oil and approximately 181 butane cans.

In the latest discovery, police found more than just a hash-oil operation. Upon entering the Lexington Drive home, police reportedly found a couple of glass display cases, credit card readers, a heat-sealing device and glass pipes.

“They are kind of acting like a dispensary,” Pasache said.

Detectives believe they were operating an Internet company and may been shipped some products to Georgia. Butez, Oppenheimer and Stuart were reportedly renting the home.

Investigators found roughly 18 marijuana plants growing inside a downstairs room.

Another room appeared to be used to house a second grow, while a third room was set up for shipping and packaging, he said.

Methamphetamine, a loaded 9mm handgun, $3,400 in cash and an AK-47 with a magazine and ammunition were also seized at the home.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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