Police dismantle South Vancouver drug labs

POLICE executed search warrants on two illicit cannabis oil labs in South Vancouver on Friday under the new Cannabis Act, seizing thousands of pounds of drugs and shutting down a multi-million dollar drug operation.

The Vancouver Police Department’s Organized Crime Section dismantled the labs in an industrial area near Oak Street and Marine Drive. Investigators believe the warehouses were being used as THC extraction labs, also known as Butane Honey Oil labs, to produce high-potency cannabis oils and concentrates for sale in unlicensed cannabis stores and on the illicit market.

“These were very large and sophisticated illegal operations that posed a significant risk to the public,” said Constable Steve Addison on Monday. “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.”

Among the cannabis products seized were shake, shatter, oils, balms and edibles as well as lab equipment used to produce the illicit drugs.

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,” said Addison. “We encourage recreational cannabis users to purchase their products from government approved and regulated stores.”

The 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.