TRACY -- Police arrested five men on drug manufacturing charges after a search warrant revealed a large-scale hash lab and $20,000 worth of drugs inside of a Tracy home, authorities said.
Tracy residents James Boyd, 24; Tailor Popp, 22; Richard Saunders-Richardson, 25; Mohammed Ghiasuddin, 26; and Stephen Bachetti, 23, were booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges of manufacturing concentrated cannabis after a Tracy SWAT team and Special Investigations Unit served a search warrant May 30 at the house in the 14900 block of W. Grantline Rd., Tracy Police Sergeant Alex Neicu said.
Inside the home, police found a massive amount of raw marijuana plant material, six pounds of sales-ready marijuana, 1.5 pounds of hash, various prescription drugs and cocaine ready to be sold, Neicu said. Over 1000 canisters of highly-flammable butane, used to manufacture hash, were also found on the property, posing a significant explosion risk to the neighborhood.
All told, the street value of the drugs seized from the home was estimated at over $20,000, Neicu said.
Boyd, Popp and Saunders-Richardson were arrested May 30 on suspicion of manufacturing of the hash, Neicu said. Popp and Saunders-Richardson also face charges of possession of marijuana for sale.
On Monday, Ghiasuddin was arrested at his house in the 200 block of Christopher Michael Lane, four days after the warrant was served on the lab, Neicu said. The final suspect, Bachetti, turned himself in to police on Tuesday.
Both Ghiasuddin and Bachetti were booked on felony charges of manufacturing controlled substances, possession of narcotics for sale and possession of marijuana for sale, Neicu said.
"Due to the large quantity of highly flammable butane used in the conversion of marijuana into concentrated cannabis, hash labs present a very serious danger to suspects, innocent neighbors and first responders," Beitu said, citing a similar illegal hash-producing lab that exploded inside an apartment in the 1400 block of Parker Ave., causing major injuries to the suspects and destroying part of the complex. "Explosions of such labs are not uncommon, often resulting in damage to large areas, serious injuries and even death."
In May 2011, a Livermore hash lab exploded after butane spilled and pooled on the floor of the apartment, killing 35-year-old Paul Lom, and critically injuring his drug-making partners, Lexie Hutson and Evan Avilés, then 23. Hutson and Aviles were eventually charged with Lom's murder, and pleaded no contest in September 2012 to their involvement in his death.
Anyone with information about other illegal drug operations in the Tracy area may contact police anonymously at 209-831-4847 or by texting "TIPTPD" plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES).