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Federal charges filed in hash oil apartment explosion on Kirkland, Kenmore boundary

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday the charging of seven people allegedly tied to four hash oil manufacturing operation explosions and fire. - Contributed photo
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday the charging of seven people allegedly tied to four hash oil manufacturing operation explosions and fire.
— image credit: Contributed photo

A Kirkland man is among seven people charged in connection with explosions tied to the practice of extracting has oil from marijuana.

Kirkland resident Robby Wayne Meiser, 46, is charged with the Jan. 1 explosion and fire at the Inglenook Apartments on the Kirkland and Kenmore boundary.

“Manufacturing hash oil is illegal and poses a significant risk to families, neighbors and the general public,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said. “An explosion and fire caused by hash oil production at a Bellevue apartment complex caused significant injuries to people trying to escape the flames. We will not stand by and allow this dangerous conduct to endanger the public.”

Charges have also been filed for the other six people in connection with similar but separate explosions in Bellevue, Seattle and Puyallup. Those explosions resulted in multiple injuries to innocent bystanders, some of whom were unaware of the illegal activity nearby, according to Durkan's office.

“These deadly explosions are reckless and preventable acts,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes said. “As marijuana cultivation activities increase, explosions will continue. DEA will stand by our law enforcement partners in stemming this dangerous threat.”

One of those injured died due to complications after hospitalization. The defendants will appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle and Tacoma on July 22.

Three people were charged in connection with the Bellevue explosion and fire on Nov. 5, 2013. Former Bellevue Mayor Nan Campbell was hospitalized for a broken pelvis she suffered trying to escape the flames. She later died following complications after her hospitalization.

“We are committed in the support of our federal, state and local partners in their ongoing efforts to ensure citizens in our community are safe from illegal acts resulting in violence,” said Douglas R. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Seattle.

Endangering human life while manufacturing controlled substances is punishable by up to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release; maintaining a drug involved premises is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release and manufacturing hash oil and marijuana is punishable by up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release.

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. Significant assistance was provided by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.

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