BEND, OR -- Bend Police say they have seen a rise in the number of illegal Butane Honey Oil labs in residential areas. Chief Jim Porter compares the BHO, or "Hash Oil" labs to meth labs that put neighbors at risk a decade or two ago. Now, criminals are using marijuana, "The end goal is, you have a much higher concentration of the active ingredient in a much smaller amount that can be introduced into edibles, can be shipped much easier with lower smell rates than marijuana itself. And, it’s a much more manageable and a much more profit-driven product than just the marijuana in Ziploc baggies, if you will."
He tells KBND News investigating the labs is straining an already busy police department. "We have the heroin epidemic we’re all talking about, which is taking a lot of lives in America; methamphetamines are still taking over 200 Oregonians’ lives every year, which is higher than what we’re seeing with the heroin trade. But, here’s our new threat: the diversion of marijuana out of legal grows, out of medical marijuana grows, into labs. These labs are processing this marijuana to make marijuana extract oil, and they’re doing it inside residential areas, which is a threat to everyone."
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Chief Porter says the butane and other components used to process the drug are highly flammable and extremely dangerous. "Up to this year, we’d seen an average of 2.3 labs that we’ve found. Now, already in the first quarter of this year, we’ve already found two working labs. The one lab had an explosion; the second lab we interdicted while they were actually producing it. They had over 200 pounds of illicit marijuana being prepared to go through the lab. Now, that marijuana was diverted from either a legal marijuana grow or a medical marijuana grow, or an illegal grow."
For more of our talk with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter about the growing number of BHO labs, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.