MONTECITO, Calif. (KABC) -- Mandatory evacuations in Montecito led to the discovery of an illegal marijuana butane honey oil extraction lab.
Santa Barbara County sheriff's investigators responded to a home in the 2200 block of Bella Vista Drive shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday to investigate a report from the Thomas Fire Incident Command, sheriff's officials stated in a press release Sunday.
The home was located in the mandatory evacuation area of the Thomas Fire, officials said. The sheriff's department was informed by firefighter personnel who were providing structure protection in the area. They said they saw several items in plain view that they believed were items related to a butane honey oil extraction lab.
Investigators were on a race against time as they obtained the warrant to search the home, with the fire bearing down on them.
They were able to seize between 300 and 500 pounds of cut marijuana, numerous cans of butane, 15 to 20 pounds of hashish (concentrated cannabis) and other related items.
After all the items were seized, investigators quickly left the residence, with fire personnel staying behind for structure protection, sheriff's officials said.
Detectives were working to identify and locate the suspect or suspects linked to the operation.
Officials said the extraction of butane honey oil requires the use of extremely flammable fuels, which can explode and injure people and destroy residences.
"These cases of fuel were left at the residence in the path of the oncoming fire making the situation even more volatile and dangerous," sheriff's officials stated in a press release.