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Press Release

Former Bellevue Resident Whose Drug Manufacturing Sparked Explosion and Fire Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Hash Oil Extraction using Explosive Gas Caused November 2013 Fatal Apartment Fire

          The man who touched off a devastating Bellevue apartment fire with his illegal hash oil manufacturing was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to nine years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  DAVID RICHARD SCHULTZ, II, 33, was using highly explosive butane gas to make hash oil in the Hampton Greens Apartment complex on November 5, 2013.  The gas exploded and numerous people in the apartment complex were injured fleeing the fire.  One of them, a former Mayor of Bellevue, died following treatment for injuries sustained while trying to escape the building.  SCHULTZ was arrested nine months later in a California motel, again with the explosive gas used to make hash oil.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “We need to educate the public that the legalization of marijuana in the State of Washington is not unlimited and it does not include the manufacturing of homemade hash oil.”

           “In just the last year, we have charged a dozen people with the dangerous and illegal manufacture of butane hash oil (BHO),” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “This case tragically demonstrates why this conduct must be stopped.  BHO extraction operations are like the meth labs we have worked so hard to eradicate from our communities.  Among other things, they involve the unauthorized use of dangerous solvents, and especially when located in homes and apartment buildings, pose a serious risk of death and property damage as so disastrously happened in this case.”

            According to records filed in the case, three people were charged in connection with the Bellevue explosion and fire on November 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.  Two other apartment residents suffered shattered bones as they had to jump from their upper level apartments.  In all the fire caused $2 million in property damage.

            In court today, one of Nan Campbell’s daughters, Anne Campbell Spangler told the court about the loss of her vibrant and involved mother because of a selfish and thoughtless act.   Patty Campbell read a letter from another victim of the explosion who was unable to travel to attend the court hearing.  The letter describes how the young middle school teacher had to jump from a third floor balcony to escape the flames, shattering her bones – leaving her legs “like Legos.”  The young woman described her month in a nursing home, her ongoing pain, and how she will never be able to run or play soccer again.  The fire destroyed her belongings including irreplaceable scrapbooks and childhood photos.

             Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence allowed by law: ten years in prison.

            Two other defendants, Daniel James Strycharske, 29, and Jesse D. Kaplan, 32, will be sentenced in July.  The two men rented the apartment and allowed SCHULTZ to set up the BHO manufacturing equipment in their space.  The men planned to sell the BHO for profit.  All three men suffered injuries in the explosion.

            This case was 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, and the Bellevue Police and Fire Departments.

          The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Greenberg and Vince Lombardi.

Updated July 15, 2015

Drug Trafficking