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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 17, 2015

Martin County Resident Sentenced for Manufacturing Hash Oil in His Apartment Laboratory and Possessing a Firearm

A Martin County resident was sentenced to 90 months in prison for manufacturing hash oil in his apartment laboratory and possessing a firearm.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, A.D. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, William D. Snyder, Sheriff, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, and David Dyess, Chief, Stuart Police Department, made the announcement. 

Daniel Paul Vranich, 31, of Lake Park, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Kenneth M. Mara, in Fort Pierce, to 30 months’ imprisonment for endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance to run consecutive to a term of 60 months’ imprisonment for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Upon his release from incarceration, Vranich will be placed on supervised release for three years.

According to the stipulated factual basis in support of the defendant’s previous guilty plea, on December 30, 2014, at approximately 4:00 a.m., an emergency services call was made regarding an explosion at an apartment in Stuart, Florida.  Members of the Stuart Police Department, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Martin County Fire Rescue, Stuart Fire Rescue and State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the residence and discovered a smoldering fire, as well as a large industrial vacuum drying oven with a timing device.  Stuart Police Department detectives also found numerous large glass cylinders containing marijuana, numerous empty butane cans, air pumps and compressors, a vacuum oven, wax paper with approximately 48 grams of butane hash oil, a food saver sealing machine, two digital scales, an electric grinder, a money counting machine, a vacuum chamber, and numerous containers and storage bags.  In addition, law enforcement discovered a loaded Sig Sauer .45 caliber pistol and personal documents belonging to Vranich.  DEA agents and members of the Hazardous Material Unit (Hazmat) determined that the discovered chemicals, equipment and other items were used to operate a butane hash oil laboratory in the residence.  The investigation further revealed that Vranich resided in the apartment with his family.

The stipulated factual basis further indicates that Vranich admitted that he was manufacturing and possessing with the intent to distribute the controlled substances, identified as marijuana and hashish oil, and that he possessed the firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking operation. Vranich also admitted that while manufacturing and attempting to manufacture hashish oil he created a substantial risk of harm to human life.

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 through a chemical process using materials and equipment like those found in Vranich’s apartment.  Because the butane vapor created during the process 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, Stuart Police Department, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Martin County Fire Rescue, Stuart Fire Rescue and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.   

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated February 4, 2016