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Ex-Cop From Southwest Riverside Sentenced For Drug Lab Explosion

Joseph Jay Spadafore was found guilty in the marijuana lab explosion in a Lake Elsinore home.


LOS ANGELES, CA – A former Los Angeles Police Department officer from Southwest Riverside whose garage explosion revealed the makeshift lab where he used butane to extract hashish oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC,” from marijuana plants, was sentenced to five years in federal prison, officials announced Monday.

Joseph Jay Spadafore, 64, of Menifee was sentenced Monday morning after a federal jury found him guilty of maintaining drug involved premises.

During the trial in March, a jury heard evidence that Spadafore, who was an LAPD officer from 1976 to 1991, converted a house into a drug lab where he extracted hashish oil containing THC from marijuana plants using a dangerous process involving butane, a highly flammable gas.

A Los Angeles fire captain testified about the 911 calls from neighbors reporting a loud explosion just before midnight on November 3, 2017, and a call from Spadafore himself at the house in a residential neighborhood in Lake Elsinore, officials said.

At the time of the explosion and subsequent fire, Spadafore was the only person living at the house, which the homeowner believed had been rented to a different man residing in Florida, officials said.

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