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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Two Soldotna Men indicted for "spice" trafficking

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a federal grand jury returned an indictment against two Soldotna men, charging them with trafficking in synthetic cannabinoids, informally known as “spice.”  The two men are also charged with firearms offenses, in connection with Spice trafficking.

Philip Drake Kneeland, 33, of Soldotna, Alaska, allegedly doing business as Tobacco Distress, Inc., and William Donald Vincent Dooley, 27, of Soldotna, Alaska, are named in the indictment.

According to the indictment, in 2015, law enforcement authorities searched the premises of Tobacco Distress, located at Mile 91.5 of the Sterling Highway, Soldotna, and Kneeland’s Soldotna residence, seizing spice containing illegal “cannabimimetic agents,” including synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-250 and others packaged as “Judgment Day,” “Armageddon,” “Big Bang,” “California Dreams” and other spice “brands” with flavor labels such as “Mango,” “Grape,” and “Cotton Candy.”

Spice consists of plant material laced with psychotropic drugs.  Usually marketed in flashy foil packaging, spice is falsely sold as “herbal incense,” “potpourri,” and mislabeled as “not intended for human consumption.”  The indictment alleges that using spice has caused escalating and frequent emergency room visits nationwide, for agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, hypertension, seizures, and hallucinations.

Kneeland is named in five counts, and if convicted could face up to 20 years in prison on the three spice charges, and an additional mandatory minimum 30 years on firearms charges, consecutive to any sentence imposed for the drug charges.  Dooley is named in three counts, and if convicted could face up to 20 years on the spice charges, and an additional mandatory five years in prison on a firearms charge. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of real property, more than $75,000.00 in currency, several firearms and a 2014 GMC Sierra pickup truck.

U.S. Attorney Loeffler commends the Kenai Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the investigation preceding the indictment.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated April 1, 2016