DEC 17 (PHOENIX) – DEA Special Agent in-Charge Doug Coleman and U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo, District of Arizona today announced that Michael Rocky Lane, 52, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was sentenced on Dec. 17, 2013 by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to 180 months' imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. Lane was found guilty by a federal jury on July 19, 2013 of two counts of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance analogue and one count of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue.
"Today's sentence represents DEA's continued commitment to pursue drug traffickers who believe they can skirt our nation's laws and threaten our communities with their poisons," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "For criminals seeking to profit through the sale and manufacturing of these dangerous drugs, our message is clear: we know how you operate; we know where you hide; and we will not stop until we bring you to justice."
"This sentence reflects the seriousness of manufacturing and distributing drug analogues," stated U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. "The defendant tried to avoid prosecution by manufacturing chemically re-designed drugs to imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This is not only illegal, but very dangerous because the effects of the re-designed drugs are often unpredictable. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute such novel attempts to circumvent our drug laws."
Evidence presented at trial proved that during the spring and summer of 2011, Lane was one of the lead sales personnel at Consortium Distribution (Consortium). Consortium was the manufacturer of "Eight Ballz Bath Salt," which contained the powerful stimulant Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), an analogue of the Schedule I controlled substance methcathinone.
In October of 2011, the DEA temporarily scheduled MDPV as a Schedule I controlled substance. Despite this scheduling, Consortium's activities did not cease. Lane found replacement chemicals to be used in their next generation of "bath salts" products. These replacement chemicals included, among others, MDPV analogues like Alph-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (APVP) and Alpha-Pyrrolidinobutiophenone (APBP). The product was then re-named "Eight Ballz Ultra Premium Glass Cleaner." Consortium manufactured this APVP product up until approximately May of 2012, at which time it ceased manufacturing "bath salts" products due to law enforcement investigations involving designer drugs.
Lane left Consortium around the fall of 2011 and started his own designer drug business, Dynamic Distribution ("Dynamic"). Dynamic's main products were "Amped Lady Bug Attractant Exuberance Powder," "White Water Rapid Lady Bug Attractant Exuberance Powder," and "Snowman Glass Cleaner." Lane was the mastermind behind Dynamic's operations and employed approximately 20 individuals, who were involved in manufacturing, packaging, and distributing these designer drugs, and running its day-to-day operations.
Evidence at trial showed that Dynamic's "designer drugs" were powerful cocaine-like or methamphetamine-like stimulants that got people high, were marketed like other illicit drugs and were purposefully mislabeled in an effort to circumvent federal law. Lane was aware of all of this, but falsely assured many of his employees that his business was legitimate.
Dynamic made millions of dollars manufacturing and selling these products to smoke shops and individual users across the United States. The operations at Dynamic continued until July 25, 2012, when DEA executed a federal search warrant at Dynamic and arrested Lane at his residence.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The prosecution was handled by Donald Pashayan, Theresa Rassas, Mark Wenker and Monica Edelstein, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.