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Monday, March 09, 2015

Martin County Father of Twins Charged with Butane Hash Oil Laboratory and Weapons Charges


A Martin County resident was arrested for running a butane hash oil laboratory and weapons charges.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and A.D. Wright, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Miami Field Division, made the announcement.

Daniel Paul Vranich, 31, of Lake Park, FL, made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Frank J. Lynch Jr., in Fort Pierce, who detained him as a risk of flight and danger to the community, pending a detention hearing. His detention hearing is scheduled for March 13, 2015 and arraignment on March 20, 2015.

Vranich is charged with manufacturing and possession with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense a controlled substance, punishable by up to five years in prison; endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance, punishable by up to ten years in prison; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, punishable by a consecutive five years in prison; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, punishable by up to ten years in prison.

On December 30th, 2014, at approximately 4:00 a.m., 911 Emergency Services received a call, regarding an explosion originating from an apartment in Stuart, Florida. In the apartment, Stuart Police Department (SPD), Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), Martin County Fire Rescue (MCFR), Stuart Fire Rescue (SFR) and State Fire Marshal’s Office discovered a smoldering fire and a large industrial vacuum drying oven with a timing device. DEA and Hazardous Material Unit (Hazmat) determined that the chemicals, equipment and other items were consistent of a Butane Hash Oil (BHO) laboratory. A witness identified Daniel Paul Vranich and his girlfriend, as the couple who had been living in the apartment for the past year, with their twin baby girls. SPD detectives found large glass cylinders containing approximately 20 pounds of marijuana, numerous empty butane cans, air pumps/compressors, a 1.9 cubic foot vacuum oven, wax paper with approximately 48 grams of BHO, a food saver sealing machine, two digital scales, electric grinder, money counting machine, vacuum chamber, and numerous containers and storage bags. SPD detectives also found a loaded Sig Sauer .45 caliber pistol and numerous personal documents belonging to Vranich.

According to the criminal complaint, hash oil is a highly potent derivative of marijuana, obtained by extracting the resins containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active psychoactive compound, from marijuana buds and plant matter by passing liquid butane through a glass cylinder packed with marijuana plant matter, like those found in Vranich’s apartment. As the butane passes through the cylinder, the crystallized resins containing THC are dissolved in the butane. As the solvent (butane & resins) exits the cylinder, it is caught in a glass container, like that found in Vranich’s apartment. Because butane vapor is extremely volatile, highly flammable and large amounts are required in the process of extracting the resin from the raw marijuana, explosions and fires from accidents have resulted in the destruction of property, severe injuries and even death.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the ATF, DEA, SPD, MCSO, MCFR, SFR and State Fire Marshal’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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