On 3/09/17, at about 12:50 PM, detectives with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP), assisted by City of Eureka Code Enforcement officials, special agents with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, and the Humboldt Bay Fire Department, served a search warrant at a cannabis-related business near 4th/A Streets, Eureka. The warrant was in response to information EPD received concerning the presence of a suspected unpermitted and illegal BHO (Butane Hash Oil) lab at the location.
In July 2016, the City of Eureka had approved a cannabis-related business license for the company, Lost Coast Research LLC, under the ownership of CEO David Bridge. Bridge’s company was permitted to conduct “Ag Testing, Bioinformatics, and Cannabis Testing” at the premises. However, the license for a cannabis testing lab did not allow the site to have any volatile extraction equipment, butane in any volume, or to manufacture hash via that process.
Bridge was not present at the time the search warrant was initially executed. Upon forcing entry into the locked business, investigators confirmed the presence of a complete “closed-loop” BHO extraction system inside. The system was pressurized, functional and set up to manufacture hash, but it was not currently in operation. Marijuana “shake” (cannabis material) was located in the system’s attached extraction tube. Additionally, 5 large garbage bags containing an estimated 100 pounds of cannabis shake were found nearby along with a 120 pound tank containing approximately 65 more pounds of butane.
An active grow room containing approximately 380 marijuana plants in various stages of growth was also located inside the building. While it appears the business’ license allowed limited cultivation for testing purposes, the modifications to the interior space was a violation of the Building Code. The City had not received or approved a building permit application for the site.
While detectives were still processing the scene, Bridge arrived and was subsequently interviewed about his company’s activities and the BHO extraction system.
The BHO extraction system was dismantled and remove from the site along with the butane tanks. Bridge was cited and released for a violation of Eureka Municipal Code Section 92.10 (Regulation of the Sale, Purchase, and Possession of Butane). Additional sanctions may follow for other code violations that were also discovered. EPD will be forwarding a felony criminal case to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review and possible prosecution of Bridge for Health and Safety Code 11379.6(a) – Manufacture of a controlled substance by chemical extraction.