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Press Release

Former Puyallup Businessman Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Hash Oil Production and Weapons Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Operated Dangerous Hash Oil Lab in Violation of Federal, State, and Local Law

          A former Puyallup businessman who operated various unpermitted marijuana businesses including a potentially explosive hash oil manufacturing lab, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to three years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  ANDRE A. LEMPRIERE, 51, was indicted in February 2015, and pleaded guilty to Endangering Human Life While Manufacturing Controlled Substances and being an Alien in Possession of Firearms in June 2015. LEMPRIERE will likely be deported following his prison term as he is a citizen of the United Kingdom who was illegally in the U.S.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said the hash oil extraction operation was extraordinarily dangerous.

            “The hash oil extraction ‘lab’ this defendant constructed was like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “The defendant had no state license or permit and his activities put his employees and those in surrounding businesses and residences at risk of serious bodily harm and property damage.”

            LEMPRIERE came to the attention of law enforcement when a citizen expressed concern about drug manufacturing activity at a Puyallup warehouse.  The warehouse was close to other businesses and residences at 2404 Inter Avenue.  After some preliminary investigation of the warehouse and an unpermitted and unlicensed marijuana dispensary owned by LEMPRIERE and his wife, law enforcement served search warrants on the couple’s home and businesses in late October 2014.  The warehouse contained a marijuana grow and a hash oil extraction operation that was at high risk of leaking butane gas and was potentially explosive.  Law enforcement had to disassemble the hash oil lab for community safety.  At LEMPRIERE’s home officers found 13 firearms.  As an alien residing in the U.S., LEMPRIERE is prohibited from possessing firearms.

            Since July 2014 more than a dozen people have been charged federally in connection with illegal hash oil labs in Western Washington.  In one Bellevue explosion, an apartment complex was destroyed and multiple people were injured – one fatally.

            The case was investigated by the Puyallup Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi and Todd Greenberg.


Updated October 16, 2015

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