News and Press Releases

joplin business owner who sold k2 pleads guilty
to mail fraud, money laundering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of a Joplin, Mo., business pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a mail fraud conspiracy and to money laundering related to the sale of K2, the slang term for synthetic cannabinoid products.

Timmy J. Ridgway, 51, of Weir, Kan., waived his right to a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charges contained in a federal information.

According to today’s plea agreement, Ridgway and others distributed synthetic cannabinoids at his business, The Looking Glass, 1860 W. 20th St., Joplin. K2 is a mixture of plant material that has been sprayed or mixed with a synthetic chemical compound similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. K2 products are often labeled as “incense,” but in reality are intended for human consumption as a drug.

On March 4, 2013, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at The Looking Glass and seized approximately 615 packages of “Bizarro,” 268 packages of “Orgazmo,”and $7,575 in cash. The same day, approximately $123,512 was seized from two bank accounts.

The labels on these packages of synthetic cannabinoids stated that the contents were “incense” or “potpourri” and “not for human consumption.” However, Ridgway admitted that he distributed K2, which contained a controlled substance analogue, for human consumption.

K2 was delivered to The Looking Glass via United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx from distributors and manufacturers in Ohio and California on at least 80 occasions between Dec. 29, 2011, and March 4, 2013. Invoices seized from The Looking Glass recorded the delivery of and payment for 93,931.5 grams of synthetic cannabinoids.

Ridgway admitted that he realized substantial profits from the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids. Between Nov. 8, 2012, and Feb. 5, 2013, he deposited a total of approximately $285,949 in cash proceeds from the sale of synthetic cannabinoids into his bank account.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Ridgway must forfeit to the government a money judgment of $285,949, which represents the proceeds of the mail fraud conspiracy, as well as his business property in Joplin, a residential property in Pittsburg, Kan., and all of the funds that were seized from his business and bank accounts on March 4, 2013.

Under federal statutes, Ridgway is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Jasper County Drug Task Force and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.

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