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Gardnerville man arrested, indicted for butane hash oil explosion

(RENO, Nev.) - A Gardnerville, Nevada man was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court today for causing an explosion at his apartment while trying to illegally make butane hash oil.

Adam Fitzgerald-Wermes, 22, is charged with one count of endangering human life while manufacturing a controlled substance. The charge stems from an investigation conducted by the DEA and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

On January 14, 2018, Fitzgerald-Wermes caused an explosion in his kitchen by trying to make butane hash oil containing a high potency of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that produces the “high” feeling users seek. The chemical extraction process is dangerous because it involves the use of butane, a highly flammable and odorless gas, to burn parts of marijuana to draw concentrated THC from the plant into a wax-like substance.

United States District Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke scheduled a jury trial to begin on May 8, 2018. If convicted, Fitzgerald-Wermes faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Keller is prosecuting the case.

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