By VERONICA ROCHA LA Times December 3, 2014, 2:53 pm
Sheriff’s investigators have discovered a cannabis extraction lab inside a child day care center in Victorville nearly two weeks after a similar operation exploded in a nearby town and killed a man.
The lab was found Monday in the garage of a home which is also used as a day care center for children ages 1 to 5, said Det. Brian Quintard of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
When investigators arrived to serve a search warrant, they found two children alone inside the home in the 14000 block of Buckskin Court.
The home’s owner, Ramona Meza, who is also the operator of the day care, had gone to pick up three other children, he said.
Soon after, she arrived and was taken into custody on suspicion of manufacturing concentrated cannabis, possession of stolen firearms and child endangerment, Quintard said.
The illegal lab was designed to extract concentrated cannabis known as “butane honey,” or hash oil.
“The extraction process is extremely dangerous with a high potential for fire and explosion due to the use of large amounts of butane,” he said.
Authorities believe a hash-oil operation may have caused a massive explosion at a home in Muscoy that killed a man and injured two others.
Fire officials said “the blast was so significant that the freshly paved road in the front of the surrounding homes actually buckled in several places.”
At the Victorville home, investigators seized three pounds of marijuana, three ounces of concentrated cannabis and more than 90 cans of butane.
Two handguns — one reported stolen from Glendora — were also found inside a bedroom.
The handguns, he said, were easily accessible to the children.
The two unattended children were taken into protective custody while the other three were released to their parents.
Investigators notified the California State Licensing Board about the hash oil find at the day care.