They're still picking up the pieces this morning in the 1700 block of Mitchell Avenue in Tustin, where a condominium apartment exploded over the Fourth of July weekend not due to firecrackers but, according to police, a residential cannabis oil extraction operation gone wrong. The blast caused considerable but non-life-threatening injuries to two men.
The men were taken to UCI Medical Center for treatment after police responded to Friday's explosion call just before noon, according to Tustin Police Lt. Paul Garaven.
“Officers discovered what appeared to be a marijuana extraction lab in the garage,” reads a statement from the department spokesman. “Officers found in excess of one pound of marijuana, several cans of butane gas and miscellaneous paraphernalia associated with an extraction lab.”
Garaven told an on scene television reporter 10-15 pounds of pot were found, adding that no one else was injured in the blast and damage was limited to the detached garage. The Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad was there to assist.
In Garaven's earlier release, he explained pot-oil extraction:
“In this process, concentrated cannabis oil is extracted from marijuana by processing butane through the cannabis in a pressurized tube. The product extracted results in a higher concentrate 'oil' which is processed via a heat source or evaporation into a semi-solid final product.”
As the unidentified men heal, police investigators are working up charges that will likely be filed against the pair.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.