Santa Cruz County

Two arrested; 200 pot plants and hash oil-making equipment seized in Live Oak

LIVE OAK, Calif. - Santa Cruz County Sheriff's deputies seized more than 200 marijuana plants, 10 pounds of processed marijuana buds and illegal hash oil extraction equipment from a Live Oak apartment complex.

Assisted by county code enforcement employees and a fire inspector, deputies served a search warrant at the Felt Street complex Wednesday.

They found the marijuana plants and hash oil extraction equipment in the complex, which had three separate units. Deputies also seized two guns and an unspecified amount of methamphetamine.

Concerned citizens reported the activity to deputies due to constant noise from the indoor grow equipment, unpleasant odor and fear that bad wiring could lead to a fire that could jeopardize nearby homes.

Frank Harris, 29, and Kyle Bingham, 28, were arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana. Bingham also was charged with possession of methamphetamine and operating an illegal extraction lab.

During the investigation, deputies discovered the use of a dangerous and potentially explosive chemical process that involved butane gas to produce hash oil also referred to as "butane honey oil."

Bingham and Harris had medical marijuana recommendations, deputies said, but were well beyond the 99 plants allowed per parcel and both were actively engaged in selling marijuana as their primary source of income.

The apartment complex was red tagged by code enforcement due to faulty and unsafe electrical wiring altered for the marijuana cultivation operation.

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