CA: McKinleyville man arrested following discovery of illegal BHO lab, indoor cannabis cultivation

Why was there a dwarf alligator at an illegal cannabis site?

Authorities also found 238 growing plants, butane hash oil lab, dried marijuana, weed seeds and firearms.

A dwarf alligator was likely the most surprising find during a California raid this week that revealed an illegal cannabis grow and a large butane hash oil (BHO) lab.
On Dec. 15, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Marijuana Enforcement Team executed a search warrant on a residence in McKinleyville, Calif., according to the HCSO.

Inside the home, officers found both a cannabis cultivation with 238 growing plants — which did not have a county permit or a state licence for a commercial operation — and a large BHO lab.

Commercial operations require a state licence and many areas do not allow outdoor grows at all. “Applicants will also need to provide proof of approval from the local jurisdiction they’ll be operating in before a licence can be issued,” per the California Cannabis Portal.

Although adults 21 and older can cultivate up to six marijuana plants for their personal use, growing over the limit for certain defendants could become a felony, notes Shouse California Law Group. These individuals include people with serious violent felonies on their record and defendants with two or more prior convictions for cultivating more than six plants, the information adds.

But the plants were just the beginning of the discovery.

HCSO deputies also found 509 pounds (231 kilograms) of processed cannabis, more than 499 pounds (226 kg) of cannabis bud, over 364 pounds (165 kg) of cannabis shake, approximately 165 pounds (75 kg) of BHO product and seven pounds (3 kg) of cannabis seeds.

The marijuana plants were eradicated and the other products seized before later being destroyed.

BHO lab equipment located during search warrant. /
BHO lab equipment located during search warrant. / PHOTO BY HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Beyond the drugs, the search revealed three firearms, “including one unserialized ‘ghost gun’ assault rifle,” the police report.

Last but not least, though, was the illegally owned dwarf alligator that was “being showcased in a tank at the residence,” the statement notes.

The animal can look forward to new digs, with HCSO reporting that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is “working to coordinate the safe removal and re-homing of the alligator.”

Three firearms located and seized during search warrant. /
Three firearms located and seized during search warrant. / PHOTO BY HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

One man has been arrested in connection with the search, HCSO noted in a tweet. The 42-year-old, who had his two young children in the home, faces charges of child endangerment, possession of an assault weapon, manufacture of a controlled substance, maintaining a residence for the purpose of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of cannabis for sales, possession of more than six cannabis plants and civil contempt.

The California raid is not the first time animals — exotic and not — have been found around illegal weed grows and operations. It may have been that the animals were meant to intimidate, adorn the surroundings or something else.

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