CHICO, Calif. - The Butte County Sheriff's Office arrested a Chico man Wednesday after figuring out his involvement in a drug trafficking incident that was discovered by Homeland Security and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office in Florida.
According to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office in Florida, along with the United States Homeland Security Investigations Unit, served a search warrant at a hangar and twin prop airplane at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport on February 27 and 28.
Officials said located inside the twin prop airplane was approximately 200 pounds of processed marijuana. Their investigation revealed that Aaron Andrus of Chico and Joshua Overton of Florida flew the plane and marijuana from a hangar at the Chico Municipal Airport to Florida.
On March 2, members of the Butte County Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) served a search warrant at a Chico Municipal Airport hangar, where the twin prop airplane originated, at the request of Florida authorities. Officials said items were found inside the hangar that were consistent with drug trafficking.
Soon after the search of the Chico airport hangar, Joshua Overton turned himself into Florida authorities and promptly bailed out. His bail was set at $41,000. On March 7, Aaron Andrus turned himself into Florida authorities and promptly bailed out. His bail was also set at $41,000. Andrus returned to his Chico home on March 7.
On March 8, members of the Butte County Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit, with the assistance of Butte Interagency Narcotic Taskforce members, a Federal Aviation Administration Special Agent, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigation members, served a search warrant at Andrus' home on the 2800 block of Alamo Avenue in Chico.
Officials said during the search of the property, a commercial CO2 lab, used in the manufacturing of marijuana hash oil, was discovered along with a 7-foot tall rotary evaporator used to assist in the further refining of hash oil. SEU members estimated the lab components cost in excess of $100,000 and were capable of producing multiple pounds of hash oil in a single run.
Officials added that several quarts of hash oil/glycerin mix were found on the property which is used to fill marijuana vape pen cartridges. A total of 88 marijuana plants were also removed from the property and destroyed.
Based on the evidence located at his home, Andrus was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance and maintaining a place for manufacturing. Andrus was transported to the Butte County Jail where his bail has been set at $115,000.