A 41-year-old man arrested in a butane hash oil lab explosion reportedly told authorities his refrigerator exploded because someone had put a stick of dynamite inside, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.
Michael Scott Gardner was arrested on suspicion of unlawful extraction of marijuana concentrate, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute marijuana concentrate, tampering with evidence and reckless endangerment, the Sheriff's Office said. His wife, Jesucita Gardner, 39, who allegedly drove away from their home in eastern Pueblo County with marijuana and glass remnants from the explosion, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful extraction of marijuana concentrate.
Deputies responded to the explosion about 2 a.m. Tuesday at the home in the 25000 block of Pleasant View Place and found a refrigerator on the patio that appeared to have been destroyed by an explosion. Small pieces of marijuana were found in the refrigerator and on the back porch.
Michael Gardner gave authorities permission to search the home, and deputies discovered "several items typically found in a butane hash oil lab," including four butane canisters, plastic packaging bags and marijuana, the Sheriff's Office said. Deputies also found a torn trash bag filled with suspected marijuana plants, broken glass jars and pieces of insulation from the refrigerator.
Gardner later admitted he was making hash oil on the patio and placed the product in the freezer before going to bed about 1 a.m., the Sheriff's Office said. Soon after, he heard the explosion.
He called 911 and began to clean up the mess, according to the Sheriff's Office. His wife drove away, but deputies stopped her a short way away.
The Gardners remain in the Pueblo County jail without bond, inmate records show.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198