On January 21st, the Anaheim Police Department offered a $1000 reward to anyone with information regarding a detached condo fire on the 2000 block of W. Blue Violet Court. What police and fire fighters found when they doused the fire was the remnants of a marijuana grow operation and a Butane Hash Oil (BHO) lab. The cause of the fire, according to a press release issued by the Anaheim Fire and Police Chief, was a direct result of the illegal extraction lab. What investigators didn’t find was the person who was renting the condo, nor did they find any clues as to who was in control of the property.
Although the case still isn’t closed, the seven month investigation culminated with the arrest of Frederic John Mercado Tabora late Wednesday evening. The 32-year-old Huntington Beach resident was arrested without incident as he exited a Motel 6 in Westminster. Immediately after, investigators served a search warrant at Tabora’s residence, located in the 6100 block of Kelley Circle in Huntington Beach, where they found another active BHO lab.
On January 1, 2016, thanks to a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown, it became illegal to manufacture hash oil within 300 feet of an occupied residence or structure. Tabora was booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility on one felony count of unlawfully causing a fire, two felony counts of unlawful chemical extraction and a felony enhancement of doing so within 300 feet of an occupied residence. According to the press release, he’s currently being held on $75,000 bail. It’s unclear whether anyone was injured in the condo fire, but a minimum of $450,000 in damages were recorded by investigators.
The process by which BHO is made requires the heating of explosive gasses in an effort to lift a concentrated amount of THC from cannabis leaves. One mishap can lead to devastating results. The Anaheim Police Department urges anyone who knows information about this case to reach out to crime stoppers. Any information leading to an arrest (and conviction) will be rewarded up to $1000.