Explosion Moved Walls, Threw Debris Some 25 Feet
Two men whose hash oil manufacturing operation exploded on New Year’s Day 2014, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to federal prison terms, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ROBBY WAYNE MEISER, 46, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and BRUCE W. MARK, 62, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The men were ordered to pay over $97,000 in restitution for damage to the apartment building. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentences.
“Hash oil manufacturing, and resulting explosions, is a growing and serious problem in Western Washington and elsewhere in the country”, said Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “As more states decriminalize marijuana, people such as these defendants are creating danger as they seek to manufacture a stronger product. It is important to send a public message that those who go too far and put lives at risk will be prosecuted and punished.”
According to records filed in the case, on January 1, 2014, Kirkland Fire Department units responded to reports of an explosion and fire at the Inglenook Apartments on 142nd Street in Kirkland. Both defendants suffered burns in the explosion. Butane gas used in the manufacturing of hash oil exploded and blew out windows on the structure, expelling debris some 25 feet away. The north wall of the apartment was displaced outward approximately 6 – 8 inches by the blast, and the roof was disconnected from that wall. On the inside, large gaps were seen between the ceiling and interior walls, and one interior wall had been moved about 10 inches. The sliding glass doors and frame were blown outward, away from the structure. The fire department condemned parts of the building due to structural concerns. Officers found thirteen empty 8 ounce butane cans, and a box of twenty-four full 8 ounce cans in the apartment, together with a marijuana grow and other implements used to make hash oil.
When the men were arrested in July 2014, investigators found a second marijuana grow at the home they occupied in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle, as well as a small amount of butane used in hash oil manufacturing. In November 2014 the men pleaded guilty to Endangering Human Life While Manufacturing Controlled Substances.
Federal charges have been filed in connection with four other hash oil operations – three of them resulting in explosions and fire. In one of the cases from Bellevue, Washington, an apartment resident was injured trying to escape the flames and later died following complications from her hospitalization. The defendants in that case are to be sentenced later this year.
The cases were investigated by multiple local and federal agencies including: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bellevue Police Department, the Seattle Police Department, and the Kirkland Police Department.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Greenberg and Vince Lombardi.