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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Former Bellevue Residents Who Allowed Apartment to be used for Drug Manufacturing Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Hash Oil Extraction using Explosive Gas Caused November 2013 Fatal Apartment Fire

Two men who invited a third man to use their Bellevue, Washington apartment for the illegal manufacturing of hash oil were sentenced to prison today in U.S. District Court in Seattle, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  JESSE D. KAPLAN, 32, of Redmond, Washington and Daniel James STRYCHARSKE, 29, of Kirkland, Washington were each sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release.  Last month the lead defendant in the case, David Richard Schultz, II, 33, was sentenced to nine years in prison.  Schultz was using highly explosive butane gas to make hash oil in the Hampton Greens Apartment complex on November 5, 2013 while the other two apartment residents were sleeping.  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.

“As I emphasized when the lead defendant was sentenced, this case tragically demonstrates why BHO extraction operations are so dangerous,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “Just like the meth labs we have worked so hard to eradicate, hash oil labs involve dangerous solvents and pose a serious risk of death and property damage.”

At the sentencing hearings U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “What moves the court is the loss of life, the permanently disabling and significant injuries the people received all because they lived in an apartment building with these defendants….who undertook this incredibly reckless and dangerous activity.”

According to records filed in the case, KAPLAN and STRYCHARSKE 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.  Former Bellevue Mayor Nan Campbell was hospitalized for a broken pelvis she suffered trying to escape the flames.  She later died following complications from her hospitalization.  Two other apartment residents suffered shattered bones as they had to jump from their upper level apartments.  In all the fire caused more than $2 million in property damage.  The total amount of restitution owed by these defendants will be finalized by a hearing scheduled for September 21, 2015.

Judge Robart determined an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines was warranted for the defendants in the case because of the severe damage to the community.  “I am troubled that the conduct was motivated by greed – the money that could be made by manufacturing hash oil,” Judge Robart said.  He added that prison sentences may deter others from getting involved in butane hash oil manufacturing.

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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 20, 2015