May 27, 2022

ABC Shuts Down an Illegal Still and Butane Honey Oil Lab in Petaluma

Agents arrest a suspect for allegedly selling marijuana-infused alcohol and distilled spirits without a license

Petaluma – Agents of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have arrested a Petaluma man for allegedly manufacturing and selling marijuana-infused alcohol and distilled spirits without a license.

On Thursday, May 26, ABC agents executed a search warrant in the 500 block of Williams Drive in the City of Petaluma and arrested 59-year-old James Joseph Barbera Jr. of Petaluma at his home. When agents arrived at the residence, they found both an illegal still and evidence of a butane honey oil lab operation with a large amount of finished honey oil products ready for sale. The illegal still was allegedly being used to make various high-proof distilled spirits products for sale. Butane honey oil lab operations, also known as a hash oil lab, commonly use butane (a flammable and odorless gas) to extract concentrated THC from marijuana. Butane honey oil lab operations can be extremely volatile and dangerous with the potential for a fire or explosion being an imminent threat to a surrounding community.

ABC received assistance from the Petaluma Police and Fire Departments, as well as local Code Enforcement Officers to safely secure the residence and mitigate the dangers posed by the illegal operations. The residence was tagged by the City of Petaluma Code Enforcement as uninhabitable due to the hazardous materials located that were allegedly used to manufacture a controlled substance.

“These types of illegal operations are dangerous and when conducted in a residential setting, present a significant public safety hazard. I am thankful that with assistance from our public safety partners we were able to identify and mitigate a significant threat to the community,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata.”

ABC Agents were able to purchase allegedly illegally manufactured distilled spirits, marijuana infused distilled spirits, and hash oil from Barbera prior to the service of the search warrant.

ABC protects communities through education and by administering prevention and enforcement programs designed to increase compliance with California’s alcoholic beverage laws. Visit ABC’s website to learn about ABC programs that can increase public safety.

ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.


Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

Public Information Office
3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834
Phone: (916) 419-2525

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