HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> El Monte police searching for a car stolen from an El Monte auto dealership discovered a marijuana oil extraction lab operating out of a Hacienda Heights home and seized $1.8 million worth of pot and concentrated cannabis, authorities said.
Five men were arrested during the 6 p.m. raid at a home in the 4,300-square-foot home at 14720 Horticultural Drive, which is valued at more than a $1 million, according to El Monte police officials and public records. Investigators seized marijuana and concentrated marijuana “honey oil” “wax” valued at $1.8 million, including tins of marijuana labeled “White Walker OG” and adorned with pictures of then zombie-like characters from the popular HBO series, “Game of Thrones.”
The investigation began Monday with the theft of a Lexus LS 460 from Long Lexus, 3530 Peck Road in El Monte, El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
Two days later, officers got a lead on the stolen Luxury car, which is valued at more than $70,000.
“The vehicle was equipped with a tracking device that was pinging in the area of the 14700 block of Horticultural Drive, Hacienda Heights,” according to the police statement.
The El Monte Police Department’s Special Investigations Team and the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention responded.
“Detectives identified 14720 Horticultural Drive as the property where the vehicle was suspected of being concealed out of view,” the statement said.
A man at the home spoke to detectives through a security gate and denied police permission to search the property for the stolen Lexus.
Police surrounded the home and obtained a search warrant, officials said. Officers arrived at the home, search warrant in hand, at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said.
“It was determined that the house contained numerous types of hazardous chemicals and equipment used in the production of concentrated cannabis,” the police statement said. “A quantity of finished concentrated cannabis, commonly known as ‘honey oil’ or ‘wax,’ was located. Five male adults were also located and arrested.”
Due to the potentially dangerous chemicals at the home, authorities evacuated the property as the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force Narcotics Lab Team and Los Angeles County hazardous material team dismantled the lab and safely stored the evidence.
“Most of the contraband was packaged for the purposes of distribution,” the police statement added.
The Lexus that launched the investigation was not found at the Horticulture Drive home, Luna said. It was ultimately recovered, unoccupied, within the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Industry Station.
Arrested on suspicion of cultivation of a controlled substance were David Byung Kim, 38, Michael Myungkhun Choi, 31, Andrew Euyyong Kim, 26, Aaron Michael Corpuz, 28 and Francis Azle Ocampo, 28.
All five suspects were released from custody Wednesday pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each, records show.
Anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.