In the first wave of the new synthetic drug war, Operation Log Jam, five individuals were charged within the Southern District of Florida.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, United States DEA, Miami Division and Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney, Southern District of Florida, announced the arrest of those charged with manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs throughout the state of Florida. The two were part of a nationwide synthetic drug sting known as, Operation Log Jam. The arrests of Harrison, Shealy, Bryant, Ahmed, and Sayem, and the charges were part of the first wave of a nationwide law enforcement sweep against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often sold under the name bath salts, Spice, incense, or plant food.
U.S. v. Ahmed, et. al
On July 12, 2012, Sabir Ahmed, 29, and Mohammad Abu Sayem, 32, both of Fort Pierce, were charged in a four-count federal indictment with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute JWH-018, a Schedule I controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture and distribute JWH-018, maintaining a premise for the purpose of manufacturing a controlled substance, and endangering human life while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance. The defendants made their initial appearances in federal court in Fort Pierce earlier today. If convicted, Ahmed and Sayem face a maximum possible statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
According to the indictment, Ahmed and Abu Sayem rented a warehouse in Ft. Pierce, where they manufactured and distributed synthetic cannabinoid products under brand names such as “Relaxinol,” “Black Cat,” “Fairly Legal,” and “Marley Boy.” Count 4 of the indictment alleges that these defendants, while manufacturing and attempting to manufacture the “Spice” products, created a substantial risk to human life. According to the charges, on November 12, 2011, the St. Lucie County Fire Department responded to an explosion and fire at the warehouse rented by Sabir Ahmed and Mohammad Abu Sayem. Subsequent investigation revealed the presence of materials, including acetone, scented oils, plant material, packets of “Spice” products and a large amount of the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 inside the warehouse.
During this investigation, two search warrants were executed, resulting in the seizure of approximately 3,000 packets of synthetic cannabinoid, 300 pounds of raw synthetic cannabinoid, and approximately 200 pounds of untreated plant material.
U.S. v. Harrison, et. al.
In a separate criminal complaint filed on July 24, 2012 and unsealed today, three West Palm Beach residents were also charged with the unlawful distribution of controlled substance analogues (synthetic cannabinoids). The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court in West Palm Beach on July 26, 2012. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory penalty of up to 30 years in prison.
Charged in the complaint are defendants Dylan Harrison, 31, John Shealy, 39, and Michael Bryant, 29, all of West Palm Beach. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, the defendants were involved in the manufacture of synthetic cannabinoids under the brand name “Mr. Nice Guy.” The product was distributed throughout the United States. The defendants allegedly operated from several different warehouses in West Palm Beach, including one which exploded on May 21, 2012. No one was injured in the blast.
During this investigation, a total of 12 federal and state search warrants were executed, resulting in the seizure of approximately 600,000 packets of synthetic cannabinoid, 20 kilograms of raw synthetic cannabinoid, approximately 4,000 kilograms of untreated plant material, $185,000 in cash, 12 firearms (including a 50 caliber rifle), and approximately 6,000 rounds of ammo. In addition, law enforcement also seized 9 vehicles, valued at approximately $280,000, 23 luxury watches, 6 cement mixers and 32 Mylar packaging sealers.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory penalty of up to 30 years in prison.
All over the nation, Operation Log Jam busts synthetic drug sellers
Operation Log Jam, the name given to a special drug war operation, was conducted by the Unite States Drug Enforcement Administration, special operations division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (Click here for information about Operation Log Jam in Florida.) Additional assistance was received from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as countless state and local law enforcement members. The operation included more than 109 United States cities. Every level of the synthetic designer drug industry was targeted, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.