FORT COLLINS - A Fort Collins man faces felony arson and drug charges after a home project to refine marijuana into hash oil caused an explosion that rocked an apartment building.
Brysen Wade Lujan, 19, told police that on Oct. 21 he'd just bonded out of jail and needed cash, so he decided to make hash at a unit in Brookview Apartments at 1220 East Stuart Street, according to his arrest affidavit. Midway through the project, he had to leave for an appointment and reportedly put the boiling butane-marijuana mixture in the freezer.
He was gone when the explosion occurred. Windows were blown out, "the refrigerator door had been forced off its hinges and across the kitchen," and "nails were sticking out from the sheet-rock on the ceiling as if the ceiling had been forced up," according to the affidavit. Items flew off shelves in a next-door unit.
Nobody was injured, but because of the vulnerability of nearby people, Lujan was charged with four counts of arson placing others in danger, according to the affidavit. He's also charged with felony marijuana concentrate manufacture, and he told police he didn't have a license to produce marijuana, according to the affidavit.
Lujan told police he'd been working alone, had learned how to make butane hash from YouTube, and he wasn't taking the "full steps" to the process, according to the affidavit.
Multiple explosions related to hash refinement have been reported across the state, including one Dec. 18 in Longmont, where two men suffered burn injuries in a garage, according to the Associated Press. In 2009, a man making butane hash died after lighting a cigarette in a unit at the El Palomino Motel north of Fort Collins.
An agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration previously told the Coloradoan that butane-hash explosions have been a big problem in California and are expected to become more frequent in Colorado.
Hash is a concentrate of marijuana that produces stronger effects with fewer doses. It also gets rid of leaves and other plant matter that don't contribute to the psychoactive effects. The process to make hash oil in this case involves using butane to separate the microscopic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, compounds that get people high.
The arson case is one of three pending felony cases filed against Lujan in 2013. He was charged in October with second-degree burglary, trespassing and criminal mischief. On Tuesday, he was charged with criminal impersonation, according to Colorado court records.
In March, Lujan was charged with misdemeanor harassment in a domestic-violence case, later pleading guilty with a sentence to a year of probation with 12 hours of community service.
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