February 10, 2017
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: 617-557-2100
Butane Hash Oil Lab Operator Sentenced
Poses an enormous threat to human life: where BHO manufacturing is going on, no one is safe.
FEB 10 - PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Scott Slagel, 41, of Westerly, Rhode Island was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., to three years’ probation for operating a butane hash oil lab in his Westerly residence. Slagel pleaded guilty on May 13, 2016, to endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance.
In court filings and at the sentencing hearing the government recommended a sentence of 27 months imprisonment, which falls within the sentencing guideline range in this matter of 24 to 30 months imprisonment. According to court documents and information presented to the court, in the early morning hours of November 27, 2015, in the wake of a fire in a multi-unit apartment building on Apache Drive in Westerly, investigators discovered an active butane hash oil lab in the unit where the fire originated. After extinguishing the fire and securing the scene, investigators located a number of items related to a butane hash oil manufacturing laboratory, including marijuana plants, multiple cans of butane, glass tubes and a vacuum oven containing butane hash oil, commonly referred to as “shatter.” At the time of his guilty plea, Slagel admitted to the court that he used the above-described items to manufacture butane hash oil, in what is known as the open-blast method - a dangerous and potentially explosive process.
In March 2016, in announcing federal criminal charges in four cases against five individuals all of whom, it is alleged, were involved in the operation of unrelated BHO labs in South Kingstown, Westerly, Providence, and West Warwick, including the lab discovered in Slagel’s residence, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha said then, and reiterates now, “This activity poses an enormous threat to human life. Where BHO manufacturing is going on, no one is safe: not those involved in the illegal operation themselves; not those who happen to be living or visiting nearby; not first responders. The demand for BHO, whether for purported medical purposes or otherwise, cannot justify its production, given the magnitude of risk. Second, those who continue to engage in the production of BHO, notwithstanding what ought to be abundantly clear by now, will be the strong focus of our collective law enforcement efforts.”
This matter was investigated by the DEA, Westerly Police Department, and the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office.