(Image / West Shore RCMP)

A sophisticated drug lab filled with high-end commercial equipment and explosive materials has been shut down by the West Shore RCMP in View Royal last week.

On Thursday, June 20th, West Shore RCMP received a request to investigate a suspicious residential fire from the View Royal Fire Department.

According to the fire department, the suspicious fire started in a basement unit kitchen and caused the 35-year-old female renter to suffer burns to her arms.

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Officers then met with fire officials at the scene and learned that the fire was caused by chemically extracting cannabis.

The next day, a search warrant was executed on the property ⁠— with the fire department and CRD Hazmat team on standby ⁠— which lead to a series of surprising discoveries.

Inside the basement suite, officers discovered a “sophisticated large scale clandestine lab” that was allegedly producing a highly concentrated form of cannabis known as ‘shatter’.

Shatter is chemically extracted form of cannabis, and is currently illegal to sell or produce beyond personal cultivation limits.

To create the shatter, officers found that the drug lab included high-quality commercial grade lab equipment, industrial ovens, high-end steel extractors, laboratory glassware, a substantial quantity of flammable and explosive materials such as acetone solvents, and over 500 canisters and tanks of used butane.

Besides equipment, investigators also found over 100 pounds of dried cannabis, cannabis resin and oil, shatter in various stages of production, and over $1000 in cash.

The picture below shows 18 gallon Tupperware bins full of dried cannabis, and is far from the total amount found on the property.

(Image / West Shore RCMP)

See also: BC residents will soon be able to anonymously report drug labs and gang hideouts

Police say that the lab was located near a children’s playground, and that there was evidence of children living in the building.

“Producing shatter involves the use of organic solvents which is an extremely dangerous criminal activity,” said Cst. Pollock of the West Shore RCMP in a statement.

“The lab was in a neighbourhood bordering parks and children’s playgrounds. Further there was evidence of children living in the home. The Crime Reduction Unit worked with the RCMP Clandestine Lab Team to safely take down and process the scene.”

“The investigation is on-going. A variety of charges relating to drug production and distribution under the Cannabis Act and other potential Criminal Code offences are being sought.”