Four individuals facing charges in March explosion

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 19, 2013

MOUNT CLEMENS — The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office has named four individuals facing charges in connection to a March explosion inside an apartment unit in Harrison Township.

Prosecutor Eric Smith and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham have charged Ryan Cameron, 19, with manufacturing marijuana, a 4-year felony; maintaining a drug house, a 2-year felony; and felony firearm, a 2-year consecutive felony.

Gabriel Tononi, 23, is charged with manufacturing marijuana, a 4-year felony.

And Evan Cameron, 22, and Devon Kuttner, 21, are both charged with disorderly conduct: loitering in a place of illegal occupation, a 90-day misdemeanor.

At just before 3:30 p.m. March 24, the Harrison Township Fire Department and sheriff’s deputies responded to a massive explosion centered inside unit 115 of the Beachwood Apartments located in the area of North Pointe Parkway and Coleridge.

According to investigators, responding deputies discovered what they believed to be a crude drug refining operation that utilized containers of butane and propane to extract oil of hashish from marijuana leaves. The process caused an explosion and fire that damaged nine apartment units and left many tenants without homes. Investigators reported that the explosion originated in the kitchen stove.

Officers also discovered a shotgun and an assault rifle, as well as ammunition.

“These people put lives at risk to manufacture drugs,” Smith said.  “It won’t be tolerated.”

Investigators with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency were summoned to the apartment to check for evidence of lingering chemicals, and ultimately cleared the scene. In addition, DTE and Consumers Energy officials responded to shut off utilities to the building. An investigation ruled out any speculation of a gas leak.

The explosion and fire destroyed the unit; knocking walls off the foundation and damaging surrounding units.

Tononi, Kuttner and Ryan Cameron were treated for burns at Detroit Receiving Hospital. No neighboring tenants were injured.

All four men were arraigned in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township July 17.