Teen given 90 days in jail for marijuana explosion in Steamboat Springs

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— A Clark teen was sentenced to 90 days in jail Monday for a June explosion that occurred in Steamboat Springs while he and another teen were making a concentrated form of marijuana called earwax.

The Routt County District Attorney's Office had filed five felony charges against Zachary Slater. As part of a plea deal, the 19-year-old pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and illegal weapon possession, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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Zachary Slater

On the arson charge, Slater received a deferred judgment, meaning the charge will be dismissed if he successfully completes three years of supervised probation.

Slater originally was charged with conspiring to make marijuana concentrate, a Class 5 felony. He also was charged with four more serious Class 4 felonies. Those charges were manufacturing marijuana concentrate, fourth-degree arson, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of a controlled substance. The possession of a controlled substance charge is related to more than 4 grams of mushrooms that police reportedly found while executing a search warrant at the condo.

Another teen, who was 17 years old when the explosion occurred, was sentenced in February to 40 days in jail. He originally was charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana concentrate, a Class 5 felony, and fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony. As part of a plea deal, the juvenile pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson and also was given a deferred judgement. The charge will be dismissed if he completes one year of probation.

The explosion occurred at a unit in the Pines Condominiums. It shook the building and shattered and knocked out windows. The juvenile who was charged was flown to a Denver hospital to be treated for injuries and was released two days later.

The two teens who were charged could have to pay thousands of dollars for the damage caused by the explosion.

The process of making marijuana concentrate can be dangerous. The teens were using butane, and a Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue official said the vapors could have been ignited by a pilot light.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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