Photo: Richard Refugio Moreno
An anonymous call to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office on the night of August 14 led deputies to check on the welfare of a 7- and 9-year-old reportedly living at a home in the 24000 block of Avenue 95 in Terra Bella.
When deputies arrived, they were met at the door by 60-year old Richard Refugio Moreno.
Moreno, who appeared to be under the influence, told deputies children did not reside at the home.
The home was indeed clear of any children, but it appeared deputies had stumbled upon a honey oil lab inside Moreno’s home.
There were several gallons of flammable liquids, marijuana shake, and other items throughout the home to support that Moreno was running a honey oil lab.
Honey oil labs are an extreme danger to anyone working around them and living near the site of a lab, as they can easily explode. It was later suspected the initial call to check on the welfare of children was a ruse to get deputies to the home and discover the lab.
The Tulare County Marijuana Investigation Team and the Department of Justice Lab Team were called to the scene to continue the investigation.
Meanwhile, Moreno was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, maintaining a residence for narcotic use and manufacturing a lab, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana for sale. As of August 19, Moreno remains at the Men’s Correctional Facility with bail set at $140,000.