- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A California man who was using butane to make hash oil from marijuana, causing an explosion that badly burned himself and a Hamilton teenager, has pleaded guilty to felony drug charges.

Howard Wease III, 25, pleaded guilty to criminal production and possession of dangerous drugs during an Oct. 1 hearing before District Judge Jeffrey Langton, Deputy Ravalli County Attorney Thorn Geist said.

Langton scheduled sentencing for Dec. 3. The plea agreement recommends Wease be sentenced to 12 years with the Department of Corrections with seven suspended, The Ravalli Republic (https://bit.ly/ZsNpc3 ) reported. Under that sentence, the agency would determine his placement.

Wease and Mariah Marie Smith, 20, dropped the boy off at the emergency room at the Hamilton hospital and left, court records said.

The boy suffered burns on his hands, feet, head, neck, shoulder and chest in the May 6 explosion and was flown to a Seattle hospital for treatment.

Wease was found later that day with burns on his hands and lower arms.

Smith was scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday to possession of hash oil in an agreement that called for a three-year deferred sentence and 40 days of jail time that she has already served, Geist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old boy also faces charges of conspiracy to operate an unlawful clandestine lab, conspiracy to manufacture or produce dangerous drugs and criminal endangerment. He is being prosecuted as an adult, Geist said.


Information from: Ravalli Republic, https://www.ravallirepublic.com

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