U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Release
Portland Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Butane Hash Oil Explosion - 08/12/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Christopher James Hughes, 30, a resident of Portland, Oregon, was sentenced today to eight months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for endangering human life while illegally manufacturing hash oil, a controlled substance.

According to court documents, on March 7, 2016, Hughes was using compressed butane gas to extract hash oil from marijuana in a shed attached to a residence in Northeast Portland. During the process, an individual in an adjacent room lit a cigarette lighter, igniting an explosion of remnant butane gas. The explosion created a fireball that burned the defendant and the contents and walls of the shed. The blast knocked the shared wall of the shed and residence from its attachment to the ceiling.

At the time of the explosion and fire, three children were inside the residence, including an infant under the age of one. All of the children were safely evacuated and none sustained any physical injuries. Law enforcement seized marijuana, a Pyrex dish containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and dozens of cans of butane gas from the shed.

On February 20, 2019, Hughes pleaded guilty to a single count of endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division and Portland Fire & Rescue’s Arson Unit. It was prosecuted by Peter Sax, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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