News and Press Releases

Boca Raton Businessman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announced that defendant Joel Lester, 52, of Boca Raton, Florida, pled guilty on Friday, June 8, 2012, before the U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra.

Lester pled guilty to a one-count Information charging him with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute synthetic marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. As part of his plea agreement, Lester agreed to forfeit $300,000.

According to documents filed and statements made in court, Lester owned Nature and Health, a business in Boca Raton, Florida, through which Lester marketed and sold synthetic marijuana products to convenience stores and gas stations where the products were then made available for sale to members of the general public.

On March 1, 2011, the DEA placed an emergency ban on many synthetic drugs. Many of the synthetic marijuana products marketed and sold by Lester, including Mr. Nice Guy brand synthetic marijuana products, contained substances which had been banned by the DEA. According to the plea agreement, during the course of the conspiracy, Lester knowingly distributed and possessed with the intent to distribute at least 10 kilograms, but not more than 20 kilograms, of banned synthetic marijuana products.

Sentencing has been scheduled for August 24, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. At sentencing, Lester faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of DEA. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Evans.

Return to Top

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.