Puyallup Man Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Hash Oil Blast
Explosion and Fire Hurls more than 100 Butane Canisters as much as 130 feet
A Puyallup man making hash oil for an illegal marijuana edible operation was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 24 months in prison and three years’ supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. SETH M. CLEEK, 22, was using highly flammable butane gas to make hash oil on May 20, 2014 when the operation exploded and caught fire. Butane canisters were hurled in every direction – putting those living near the scene, and first responders at risk. One canister was driven through a plastic planter – demonstrating the force of the explosion. Fortunately CLEEK’s family, including his 18-month-old child, was not injured in the blast. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton imposed the sentence.
According to records filed in the case, CLEEK was being paid $10 for each “tube” of marijuana he sought to turn into butane honey oil (BHO). The process, which involves forcing butane gas through marijuana clippings packed in a tube, and then boiling off the solvent can prove highly explosive. CLEEK was using some 20 cases of butane supplied to him by co-defendant Kevin Weeks, when the operation exploded. The resulting fire melted the siding on the Puyallup home and destroyed a plastic basketball backboard.
The investigation revealed that CLEEK was working for Weeks – the operator of a marijuana “medible” company called ‘Cap’n Cosmics. The company had no state licensure to make marijuana products, and used marketing that mimics the look of a children’s cereal, “Cap’n Crunch.” Search warrants served several weeks after the Puyallup explosion revealed that Weeks had moved the BHO manufacturing operation to an industrial area, but was using a method that could have resulted in a much greater and even more damaging explosion. In all some 1800 pounds of marijuana and marijuana laced food products were seized in the investigation.
The case was investigated by the Puyallup Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The Pierce County Prosecutors Office assisted with the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vince Lombardi and Todd Greenberg.