The search for a stolen luxury car led to the discovery of an illegal marijuana lab in El Monte and the arrests of five men, police reported Wednesday.
The car, a Lexus LX 460 stolen from the Longo dealership at 3530 Peck Road on Monday, was equipped with a tracking device which began sending back a signal placing it in the area of 14700 block of Horticulture Drive, according to El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna.
Around 1 that afternoon,detectives pinpointed the stolen car’s location at an address on that street, but a man who came to the security gate refused to give permission for a search of the property, Luna said.
Around 6 p.m. Monday, a search warrant was served and investigators found the stolen car and discovered a lab that produces concentrated cannabis oil, known as “honey oil” or “wax,” Luna said. Also found on the property were numerous types of equipment and hazardous chemicals used in the production of the marijuana oil, as well as a large quantity of concentrated cannabis in various stages of production with an estimated value of $1.8 million, he said.
David Byung Kim, 38, Michael Myungkhun Choi, 31, Andrew Euyyong Kim, 26, Aaron Michael Corpuz, 28, and Francis Azle Ocampo, 28, were arrested at the scene and booked on a variety of charges, Luna said. They each posted $75,000 bail and were released pending future court hearings.
Drug lab operators use butane stoves to extract tincture from cannabis plants. The product can be mixed with anything and bottled. A pound of wax can fetch more than $30,000, according to law enforcement estimates.
Anyone with information on the lab was asked to call the El Monte police at (626) 580-2100. Tips can also be submitted through the website firstname.lastname@example.org.
–City News Service