A 41-year-old Newport Beach resident was sentenced on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, for his role leading a synthetic drug ring that nearly resulted in several of his clients almost losing their lives. He is slated be transported to federal prison where he will spend the next 120 months serving his sentence.
In the indictment filed in 2014 in this case, the man was described as having spearheaded a synthetic marijuana drug operation. As leader of that ring, he and his associates were accused by law enforcement of having conspired to not only smuggle, but also manufacture and distribute this powerful street drug known commonly as 'spice'.
The man entered a guilty plea to drug smuggling, possession of a firearm by a felon and money laundering charges in November of 2016.
While the possession of marijuana by itself has become largely deregulated in many states, including California, over the past few years, under federal law, it's a crime that is still punished. Both levels of government continue to regulate synthetic versions of drugs, such as the ones that this defendant was charged with having distributed.
These types of drugs continue to be regulated by both state and federal governments largely because these narcotics are designed to have a chemical composition not all that different from other controlled substances. They're known to have profound physiological effects, which includes carrying a higher risk of overdoses.
As for the investigation into the man's illicit activities, it required a joint task force between the Los Angeles High-Intensity Drug Task Force, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, to bring him down.
Significant investments of both manpower and financial resources go into investigating alleged violations of federal law. It's very common that plea deals are reached in these types of cases as a result. If you've been charged with such an offense, then you may benefit from the advice an Orange County federal crimes attorney can provide in your legal matter.
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "Orange County man who spearheaded scheme to illegally import and distribute synthetic narcotics sentenced to 10 years in prison," June 22, 2017