Drug lab causes explosion at house; suspect arrested

On Wednesday, April 22, at approximately 3 p.m., Long Beach Police responded to a residence in the 200 block of Belmont Avenue to assist the Long Beach Fire Department and Arson investigators after a drug lab was discovered.

Neighbors had reported hearing a loud explosion, followed by fire and smoke. Long Beach firefighters arrived at the location and extinguished the fire. When arson investigators arrived, they discovered the resident was attempting to make Butane Honey Oil (BHO), and requested the assistance of the LBPD’s Drug Investigations Section. The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Apprehension Crime Taskforce’s (LA IMPACT) lab team also responded to the location to assist.

Although no one was inside the home at the time of the explosion, there were two cats inside that did not survive.

Investigators located items consistent with the manufacturing of BHO, which is made when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is extracted from marijuana plants. BHO is consumed by methods such as smoking, ingestion, or vaporization. Users prefer BHO due to the high concentration of THC that it contains. Butane, which is extremely dangerous due to its flammability, and used during the extraction process, was also found.

The suspect has been identified as 57-year-old Mitchell Maclean of Long Beach. He was booked for manufacturing a controlled substance and animal cruelty, and is being held at the Long Beach City Jail on $75,000 bail pending arraignment.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the LBPD’s Drug Investigation Section at (562) 570-7221. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.