KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On Wednesday five current and former Kansas City, Mo. residents were indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute synthetic marijuana (commonly referred to as: ‘K2’).
The three current residents are: Jason Sparks, 33, Charidy Blankenship, 27, and Daniel Williams, 27. Derek Williams, 31, and Ashil Adkins, 27, now reside in Laguna Beach, Calif. but were previously KC residents.
The defendants operated under the business name: KC Incense, LLC and face six counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance between March, 2011 and November 2012. They allegedly defrauded the Food and Drug Administration and public by labeling products as incense, potpourri or aromas that were not for human consumption.
Among the names of the falsely represented products were: “Berry Faded,” “Twisted,” “Ripped” and “Smooth”. These substances were said to have actually been synthetic cannabinoids and were delivered by mail or commercial carrier.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants were part of a conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to import controlled substances and took part in money laundering. The group was said to have imported controlled substance analogues from China that were eventually used to manufacture K2.
If convicted, the defendants face forfeiture allegations where they would have to relinquish property derived from criminal activity. Derek Williams and Adkins had nearly $3.4 million in cash seized from their Laguna Beach property, bank accounts and a safety deposit box. A money judgment against the group totals $10,566,306.
It is unclear how much prison time each of the five faces if they are convicted, we are working to find out how each individual count would carry.
The drug take down referred to as ‘Project Synergy’ is the largest-ever synthetic drug take down and is a joint law enforcement operation spanning 35 states. The targets include retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Wednesday more than 150 arrest warrants were issued and nearly 375 search warrants were executed according to a press release.