Cops Say a Fake Joint Started a Fire at a Hispanic Cultural Center
Last month, a fire at New Mexico’s National Hispanic Cultural Center led to $1.5 million in damages. Now, investigators have determined that a fake joint rolled with “actual weeds” sparked the blaze.
Published on March 21, 2019

On Wednesday, Albuquerque investigators announced that they had determined what sparked a fire last month at New Mexico’s National Hispanic Cultural Center: an overnight security guard and his friend accidentally started the blaze by smoking a fake joint.

The guard, Matthew Luxon, and his friend, Lyle Thompson, used bar receipts as rolling papers. Instead of cannabis, they used “actual weeds,” wrote KOB4 News.

Investigators said the fire started while the two men took selfies with the faux doob. After lighting it up, one of the men dropped the burning joint during a coughing fit. The fire tripped an alarm, alerting Luxon’s security company.

Allegedly, Luxon lied to his employers and told them nothing was wrong. Then he and Thompson left the scene while the emergency sprinklers ran for four hours.

Albuquerque police charged both men with negligent arson and conspiracy. Luxon caught an additional charge for tampering with evidence.

Initially, the estimated cost for repairing the damages sat at half a million dollars. But an updated estimate places that cost closer to $1.5 million.

That’s one expensive selfie. Pricier than a Banksy, even.

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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