Nov. 15–A 35-year-old Cottage Grove man pleaded guilty Thursday to endangering human life and illegally possessing and manufacturing marijuana after a butane honey oil explosion last year.
On Nov. 16, 2017, police and firefighters responded to an explosion at a storage facility in Cottage Grove and learned that property owner Eric L. Scully was being treated for serious burns from the explosion at a local hospital.
Two days later, federal agents searched the storage facility with a warrant and found a large, sophisticated and unlicensed hash oil extraction lab, according to federal prosecutors.
The lab contained a concentrated form of marijuana extracted using highly flammable or combustible solvents. Agents found more than 1,900 pounds of marijuana bud, 728 marijuana plants and over 80 pounds of marijuana extract.
One of Scully’s machines caught fire, an investigation found. The machine and combustibles exploded, injuring Scully. Two other people were inside at the time but no other injuries were reported.
“Manufacturing hash oil is extremely dangerous and poses a grave risk of injury or death to producers and unknowing, innocent victims. Federal authorities will continue targeting BHO producers and the illicit distribution networks providing them with butane gas. Together with our local partners, we will put an end to this severe public safety threat,” Oregon’sU.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a prepared statement.
Under a plea deal, the U.S. attorney’s office and Scully’s defense lawyer will recommend that Scully face seven years in federal prison when sentenced on Feb. 21 by U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane in U.S. District Court in Eugene.
He’s also agreed to forfeit $25,980 in criminal proceeds and a pickup truck and trailer used to help in the crimes.
— Maxine Bernstein
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