Five men were charged with murder Thursday stemming from the death of a man in an explosion that occurred in a honey-oil lab in Chatsworth.
Prosecutors contend the defendants and the man who died had been operating the lab for at least two months prior to the Sept. 21 explosion that killed Dados Aroutiounov.
Aram Abgaryan, 30, Vadim Klebanov, 59, Arsen Terejyan, 43, Rafael Mailyan, 32, and Stepan Mailyan, 65, were each charged with murder and manufacturing a controlled substance.
Authorities contend the group was operating a sophisticated lab, extracting THC from cannabis plants, inside a commercial building in the 9500 block of North Vassar Avenue when an explosion occurred around 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Aroutiounov was working in the lab with all of the defendants except Abgaryan when the blast occurred. After knocking down the resulting blaze, fire crews did not initially realize someone had died, but after further investigation, authorities returned to the scene the next day and found Aroutiounov’s remains — burned beyond recognition — under a pile of debris, prosecutors said.
Police served a search warrant the same day at a storage unit, where they found $3.2 million in cash and gold bars, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The five defendants were arrested Tuesday, and each faces 23 years to life in prison if convicted.