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Meth smoker guilty in coastal trailer fire

 | Published on 7/20/2011


A Princeton-by-the-Sea felon accused of accidentally torching his storage trailer by using a defective propane torch to smoke methamphetamine was sentenced to jail for possessing weapons and black powder turned up by the blaze.

John Louis Blanchard, 65, pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing explosives. He was immediately sentenced to 45 days jail, with credit for six days, and three years supervised probation. However, he was not ordered to begin his sentence until Jan. 21, 2012 and he remains free from custody on $30,000 bail.

Blanchard was arrested Oct. 1 after sheriff’s deputies and Cal Fire responded to reports of a fire in a commercial storage yard on the 200 block of Yale Avenue near the Half Moon Bay Airport. Authorities found Blanchard standing near his trailer, which appeared to be the source of the fire. Deputies reported that Blanchard had placed a propane torch used to light methamphetamine on a dryer, igniting gunpowder he was allegedly storing. A search of the trailer turned up a loaded rifle, ammunition, black powder, 300 feet of detonation cord and burglary tools.

Blanchard has a previous drug possession conviction, prohibiting him from having firearms and ammunition.