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Explosion in Riverside apartment leads to discovery of butane honey oil lab

An explosion that occurred in a Riverside neighborhood was determined to be from a butane honey oil lab. Photo provided by the Riverside Police Department.

An explosion that occurred on March 1 in the 600 block of Central Avenue in the Canyon Crest neighborhood of Riverside was determined to be from a butane honey oil lab that was set up inside one of the apartments, according to the Riverside Police Department. 

Due to the damage caused by the explosion, the residents in the other apartments attached to this building were uninjured but displaced.

According to the Riverside Police Department, evidence of the illegal lab that was found included empty butane canisters, hash oil extract, marijuana plants, and other items used in the manufacturing process.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, is extracted from marijuana plants using butane. Hash oil is the byproduct produced during the extraction process and contains concentrated levels of THC. The extraction process is extremely dangerous because it involves butane, a flammable and odorless gas that can be easily ignited by the low heat of common items and appliances found in a home, triggering an instant explosion.

Evidence found inside the illegal lab included several marijuana plants. Photo provided by the Riverside Police Department.

During their investigation, officers contacted an injured man and woman who transported were transported to a hospital. Both suspects were identified as residents of the apartment where the explosion occurred, according to the Riverside Police Department.

Due to his injuries, the 38-year-man was transferred to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Burn Unit for further medical treatment. Charges will be filed later regarding his involvement, said the Riverside Police Department.

Lisa Marie Twyman, 41, was later arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for manufacturing a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit a felony, and outstanding misdemeanor warrants.

A third person affiliated with the two suspects and their apartment was contacted in a vehicle nearby. Officers learned that the suspect was on probation for evading police and had three outstanding felony warrants for his arrest

During their search, officers located a concealed firearm and several small bags containing narcotics packaged for sales. Cutter James Mendonca, 22, was arrested and also booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for outstanding warrants, weapons violations, and drug violations. He is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on March 15, according to jail records.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Victim Services Unit responded to assist the displaced residents with additional resources.

Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Narcotics Unit at 951- 353-7200. Citizens who wish to remain anonymous can email [email protected] or utilize the Riverside Police Department’s mobile app “Submit a Tip” feature while referencing report number 210006102.

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