Evergreen Man Denies Drug Charge After Explosion

By Beacon Staff

The second of two Evergreen cousins who were burned in a house fire investigators say was caused by trying to convert marijuana into hashish has pleaded not guilty.

Tyler Shepard appeared in court Thursday and denied a charge of attempted criminal manufacturing of dangerous drugs. He and Matthew Shepard are due back in court for a jury trial in February.

Court records say the men told emergency responders they were using a PVC pipe and butane to extract oil from marijuana stems on March 16, 2011, when a dryer ignited the fumes and caused an explosion.

Both men were medical marijuana card holders, and having the marijuana was legal under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act. But converting the plants to the more potent drug hashish is not.