Five men were charged Thursday with murder in the death of a man whose remains were found following an explosion at a honey oil lab in Chatsworth, prosecutors said.
The men arrested Tuesday following an investigation into the Sept. 21 blaze are also charged with manufacturing concentrated cannabis, a controlled substance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Officials identified the defendants as:
• Aram Abgaryan, 30
• Vadim Klebanov, 59
• Arsen Terejyan, 43
• Rafael Mailyan, 32
• Stepan Mailyan, 65
After arresting the men Tuesday, police served a search warrant at a storage unit and uncovered $3.2 million in cash and gold bars, according to the DA’s office.
Firefighters who initially responded to the blaze at 9566 Vassar Ave. reported no injuries.
But after receiving information the next day that someone may have been killed, investigators responded and found human remains, burned beyond recognition, beneath a pile of debris, the DA’s office said.
The man was later identified as 62-year-old Dados Aroutiounov.
Prosecutors say the defendants and victim had been operating the lab for at least two months.
Honey oil is obtained by extracting cannabinoids from marijuana plants. Because the solvents used for this are flammable, the process can be dangerous.
Aroutiounov was working in the lab with Klebanov, Terejyan and both Mailyans when the explosion occurred on Sept. 21, officials said.
It’s unclear what role Abgaryan is accused of playing.
The lab, housed in a commercial building with five other units, was extensively damaged. Fire officials said the flames also spread to a second business.
It took nearly 40 firefighters about half an hour to extinguish the blaze.
Each defendant could face 23 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.