Vancouver police seized thousands of pounds of pot on Friday (July 19) from two illegal labs on the south slope.
The VPD’s Organized Crime Section dismantled the labs in an industrial area near Oak Street and Marine Drive, shutting down what police called a “multi-million dollar drug operation.”
Investigators believe the warehouses were being used as THC extraction labs, also known as Butane Honey Oil labs, to produce cannabis oils and concentrates for sale in unlicensed cannabis stores and on the illicit market.
Police listed the seized items as shake, shatter, oils, balms, and edibles, as well as lab equipment used to produce the illicit drugs.
“These were very large and sophisticated illegal operations that posed a significant risk to the public,” VPD Const. Steve Addison said in a news release. “Although cannabis can now be legally purchased from government regulated and approved retailers, we will not tolerate anyone who tries to cash in by breaking the law and putting the public at risk.”
The Cannabis Act prohibits the use of organic solvents, like butane, in the extraction of oils from cannabis plants. The process is dangerous because organic solvents are extremely volatile and can lead to fires or explosions.
“Legally produced cannabis oils can still be purchased from licensed retailers,” Addison said. “We encourage recreational cannabis users to purchase their products from government approved and regulated stores.”
VPD received assistance from the RCMP’s Clandestine Lab Team and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services during last week’s search warrants. The investigation is ongoing. Several charges are anticipated to be recommended at the conclusion of the investigation.
— John Kurucz, Vancouver Courier