Meth maker scarred by fire jailed 5 years

Posted: 26th October 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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A judge has sentenced a novice methamphetamine maker who accidentally set himself on fire — causing burns to 70 per cent of his body — to five years in prison.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt said she would have sentenced Qui Nguyen, 23, to as many as eight years but for his contrition and excellent prospects for rehabilitation.

“The danger of methamphetamine to human life is becoming incontrovertibly clear,” she said.

On April 20, Nguyen pleaded guilty to producing methamphetamine and to arson by negligence.

Nguyen told police that about two weeks before the fire “two older men” with serious criminal connections approached him, saying they heard he was good at chemistry in high school. They asked him to make meth for them. He agreed and was taken to an east Toronto house where he slept on a couch and was provided groceries.

Nguyen was boiling methanol in the kitchen of the house on Craven Rd., near Gerrard St. and Coxwell Ave., on March 13, 2009, but used too much, causing a fire, the judge said. When he tried douse the flames with an extinguisher, he himself was set ablaze.

Firefighters found him lying out front with his clothing burned off. He was hospitalized for more than five weeks and left permanently scarred.

Neighbouring homes were evacuated.

There were two 100-pound compressed gas cylinders near his burned clothes. Experts said if one had caught fire the resulting explosion could have destroyed as many as 10 surrounding homes.

Inside the house were numerous unlabelled and unsecure chemicals, including hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Pill presses could produce between 4,000 and 6,000 pills an hour.

Every kilogram of methamphetamine, an addictive drug that creates euphoria in the user, results in up to six kilograms of toxic waste, McWatt noted.

Prosecutor Sarah Egan had asked the judge for a six- to eight-year sentence. Defence lawyer Peter Zaduk suggested a term of less than two years, noting his client’s youth and lack of a criminal record.

But the judge said although he was not the controlling mind of the operation, Nguyen controlled the operation and knew the risks.

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/article/1075937–meth-maker-scarred-by-fire-jailed-5-years

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