DEA Unleashes “Operation Shattered,” Arrests Washington Hash Makers | Marijuana

DEA Unleashes “Operation Shattered,” Arrests Washington Hash Makers


When the DEA announced the commencement of “Operation Shattered” on July 22, 2014, the enforcement agency had eight people on its list to indict. The names on the list were cited for manufacturing a controlled substance out of their homes using open-blasting techniques to create butane hash oil (BHO).

Citing recent explosions from hash oil making operations in Washington, representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office made it clear they were going to go after those they found breaking the law:

“Manufacturing hash oil is illegal and poses a significant risk to families, neighbors, and the general public,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan announced in a statement released from the Department of Justice.

At 4:00 AM yesterday, the feds widened that net when King County Law Enforcement officers raided the home of Debbie Brechler and Josh Mauk, the owners of Home Blown Concentrates. While the company may be situated in the couples residence, the pair uses a closed loop system and does all of their blasting in an outdoor setting. These conditions should seemingly satisfy the requirements for safely manufacturing BHO.

But Washington law appears clear: “Home-based manufacturing of THC remains illegal under state law, even with the passage of Initiative 502,” according to Mark Lindquist, Pierce County Prosecutor, in the same DOJ release.

The charges brought against Brechler and Mauk include reckless endangerment. According to the warrant served, arrests were also made on suspicion of manufacturing of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm. While they acknowledge their child was in the home, the owners maintain their operations were conducted safely outside and in no way endangered their child.

There has been an immediate response on social media in support of Home Blown Concentrates. Some in the Washington Cannabis Community are calling for solidarity. Jonah Takoma, owner and founder of Dabstars commented on Home Blown’s Facebook page:

“Home Blown Concentrates founders Josh Mauk and Debbie Brechler were arrested by federal authorities today as part of what the DEA is calling ‘Operation Shattered,’ targeting extractors open looping out of their residencies and are actively pursuing our friends and family members in the community. In order for the hash making movement to survive in Washington we all have to adapt and evolve to safer standards and help each other stay out of the cross hairs, even if that means sharing space/equipment and resources.”

However, not everyone in the industry believes these raids to be off the mark. John Davis, for example, a dispensary owner and one of the organizers of Hempfest said, “Where people are acting completely outside the law and foolishly and dangerously, and endangering their communities, absolutely I think that enforcement has a role.”

Daniel de Sailles, owner of Top Shelf Extracts in Denver, Colorado and one of the industry’s most outspoken proponents of Butane Hash Oil had this to say:

“Our community has been doing our best to police ourselves. The idiots causing these explosions are not a part of it. Every single hash oil accident that has happened anywhere happened in a closed in space, the fault of people without even the most rudimentary common sense. I think ‘discharging a can of butane in a closed in space’ should be punishable by a severe prison sentence. These last people didn’t do that and are being made a scapegoat because they picked the unfortunate name “home blown concentrates.” They were in fact ethical caregivers that consistently provided clean concentrates (verified by multiple laboratories) to their patients (all legal under Washington law). I am sad to see Washington State put caregivers who never in their lives put anyone else’s in danger with evil selfish scum bags blowing up apartment buildings and hotels. They’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

According to a news release put out by The Northwest Leaf, the couple remains in police custody. Their child, though, in the home at the time of the raid, was allowed to stay with family members.

The Northwest Leaf further warns MMJ producers and processors in Washington to follow safe practices, suggesting that all processing be done in a commercial setting, “Processing in residential homes, especially where children are present is not advised or legal. All processors need to ensure safe and best practices, for the safety of patients and the industry.”

For more information, view this press release from NWLeaf detailing the saga.

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    • Tom Terrific on

      Me too. I make a nice oil using alcohol over kif. My method makes a potent and tasty oil. I can work it to a ‘shatter’ like consistancy. If BHO is honey, my oil is the ‘molasses’. Full spectrum, very little to no chlorophyll, no benzene, no house go BOOM.

  1. Anyone producing bho under the guise of medical needs to have their heads examined…oh wait that part of their brain was blown out by the residual benzene left behind….and anyone who argues analytical 360 or some of the other labs using hplc to do their testing, should understand the amount of benzene they’re testing for is about 1ppm to 4ppm. …easily missed or inadvertently caught by mistake with a lab that’s not iso certified…These labs need to make the real investment in real labs so that they have repeatable results…In the meantime the liquor control board supports bho and their darling example is northwest extracted….better idea….why don’t we just add benzene to co2 or alcohol extracted oil to keep all the dab heads happy……little fact of interest, did you know they actually use benzene to cut pcp……
    The liquor control board should be ashamed of themselves for even entertaining hydrocarbon extractions (like bho)…and medical patients need to beware of the dangers of pcp…Oops I mean bho…

    • You are such a typical fear promoting product of your governments mentality. Benzene can be removed by vacuum distillation, but do you have any idea how many times a day you come into contact, ingest or otherwise, matter that contains 1-4 ppm benzene? You don’t offer a harm reduction strategy or solution, you just want to scare people into thinking like you and liking what you like. Obviously BHO is not going to go away because its “bad for you”. You should run for office. Actually, in the words of former american (anti) hero child molester, just beat it.

      • I really couldn’t care less if you use bho, it’s darwinism at its best. I’m more concerned about people who actually care. In regards to your vacuum purge it will remove most of the butane but not the benezene and If you’re vaping 4ppm of benzene a day you’ll end up just as messed up as your hero you’re referring to. Your lack of chemistry knowledge is obvious, and just because you think you know of what you speak, doesn’t make it true. I’d highly recommend you continue to use bho. Everyone else, buyer beware. A product of my government. ..that’s laughable. My harm reduction strategy, don’t use bho..co2 oil is fine alcohol extracted oil works too iso-hexane as a solvent would still be a better choice than butane….slinging insults just shows your ignorance.

        • Hahah, you are right. Ive never made bho in my life, and only read somewhere how to get rid of the benzene. What I did accomplish was your harm reduction strategy, Capt. BHOle. Still, it isn’t addressing the major concern of getting rid of the benzene. Being a stable aromatic, and yes, highly carcinogenic, there must be a way to remove it. My angle is to produce a clean product and get rich off the hype. Anyone who smokes anything is an idiot anyhow. The bottom line is, ‘shatter’ isnt going away, and ranting like a fool about benzene isnt going to scare anyone. How to remove the benzene? Thats the question that matters.

          • It can be removed through a catalytic process…either high heat…alas destruction of the cannabinoids…or by adding another chemical to create the catalytic reaction…alas nd then

  2. Randy Robinson on

    lol @ people crying about “harmful residues” in BHO.

    If you smoke your cannabis, you get no room to trash BHO. Every time you inhale smoke, you’re sucking in a lungful of free radicals and soot.

  3. Tawnee Cowan on

    I could argue they have good practices outdoors, I am a community photog that knows different. I could also argue about the quality of their product as I have tons of images of the mold on the very plants they used to win the concentrates cup. BHO is not medicine, but sure it will get you high, get it out of our MMJ. Now I am being targetted as a snitch, when I just don’t like them and had plans on suing them in civil court for theft of images. Sure, they are pillars of our community, not. Now I can’t even take them to court for my issues because it isn’t like I will get justice now….

    • They have done you a favor…saving you thousands of dollars in attorneys fees only to end up in court for approximately 2 yrs. and to ultimately settle before it goes to trial only to settle on no money exchanged anyway…..but on the downside you’ll be taking food out of the mouths of one of the many green attorneys feeding on us naive stoners.

  4. I’m so fed up with this “dab culture” B/S I see everywhere now. IMO all these nutsacks are doing is setting the progress BACK. Marijuana has a purpose – a very good one for some people – but what the heck is so problematic/wrong/not good enough about grinding up some herb, packing a bowl or rolling a joint, and just doing it the old fashioned way? WHY DOES IT NEED TO BE CONCENTRATED?! The pot grown today is PLENTY strong to accomplish anything that people need WITHOUT concentrating it.
    “Dabs” aren’t medicine. Dabs are just drugs. Only people you ever hear gushing over dabs/shatter/whatever the heck other lame names they give this crap – is young people who are looking for concealable ways to get ULTRA-blazed.
    I asked most of my friends why they’re so obsessed with this garbage. Their answers:
    1. “It’s so easy to take with me and smoke in my car.” WHAT THE HECK?! You’re not supposed to be smoking and driving.
    2. “I can keep it on me and get blazed ANYTIME/ANYWHERE without people noticing, all day.” Why do you need to be stoned ALL day long? YOU DON’T!

    I love MJ as much as the next pothead…but this is taking THC in a direction that it DOESN’T need to go. I wouldn’t give two shits it shatter was banned from being sold/distributed; even when made/sold in a “safe” and legal way.

    Smoke/vape/eat the herb. Regular old hash is even ok…but we don’t need super concentrated THC. It’s strong enough as it is.

    • The Chronic Scientist on

      I feel you are conflicted as you say we don’t need concentrates but then at the end you say regular old hash is ok. Hash is hash, you’re either into it or you aren’t. That being said, I agree that the only type of hash that should be considered medicine should be solventless/bubble/icewater hash. If you Google “medicines extracted with butane” only hash oil comes up. So IMHO “blasting” medical marijuana with butane does not result in medicine.

  5. Cancer to the cannabis community….really?!… I’d say actually the contrary…whether you know it or not….people who point out the pitfalls of bho are only helping the unsuspecting consumer’s. .Most of which will be younger and have more time to ultimately damage themselves beyond repair…they don’t call themselves dab zombies or dab junkies for no reason. It’s not about the hash oil….it’s about the solvent….don’t let the “pot specialized” labs fool you…other industries are laughing at us and them as we speak…pick a better solvent….and F it…If you want the effects of bho just add the benzene in later….an at least people won’t be blowing their neighborhoods up…..One of the main reasons bho is so popular. ..trash to cash…..New unexperienced growers…or lazy old ones need something to do with their mite and mildew infested product!

  6. It’s not that I can’t handle strong doses. It’s the fact that it’s UNNECESSARY. I don’t have any sort of nostalgia for herb…but it makes me question “when is enough going to be enough for these cats?” Super-concentrating the THC more and more and more until it’s going to be so potent – that one hit is going to leave you in a state like heroin would. There’s ZERO point and ZERO cool to being a zombified stoner all day. Honestly. You might think it’s alright – but very few people will respect you for that…and if you’re so apathetic that you don’t even care about being a respectable human being – don’t even BEGIN to call ME a “cancer” to the cannabis community.

  7. Why because I am calling out people who want to use “IT’S MEDICINE!” as an excuse to be higher than you really need to be ALL DAY LONG?

    Go back in your hole, you dab-lifer. The rest of the world is operating at a higher function.

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