Neighborhood reacts to explosion in suspected drug making operation


Neighborhood reacts to explosion in suspected drug making operation

HAMILTON, Mont. - An explosion that seriously burned a teenager in a suspected drug manufacturing explosion in Hamilton has police urging parents to be vigilant of what their kids are doing.

The 17-year-old boy injured in Tuesday's explosion is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Police suspect the boy and another man of manufacturing drugs.

It's the second serious crime on Hamilton's south end this year.

"I think that drugs are getting pretty bad in this town," said Hamilton resident Charles Turley. "I'd like to see something done about it."

The explosion follows on the heels of a beating death in the neighborhood last winter. The accused in that case had histories of alleged drug use.

Tuesday's explosion not only put a boy in the hospital but it also burned suspect Howard Matthew Wease. He was arraigned on felony drug charges at the hospital.

"The 25-year-old suspect has been released, but he is on electronic monitoring," said Hamilton Police Sergeant Bob Liercke.

A police report said there were cans of butane in the residence, home made pipes and marijuana.

Investigators said the teen and Wease were making hash oil from marijuana. It's a regional trend, gleaning a more concentrated, potent drug from the plant.

"I think the trend is serious," said Liercke. "Obviously from the oil itself, in consuming it is very dangerous, very addicting."

Liercke said there are videos online that show how to make hash oil. He said parents should be aware of them.

They tell you how to do it, said the police officer. "But they're even putting disclaimers that its very dangerous."

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