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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Former Federal Air Marshal Sentenced

     PHOENIX – Yesterday, Kristopher Gale Hanks, 40, of Ashburn, Va., was sentenced by United States Senior District Judge Roslyn O. Silver to three years’ probation. Hanks had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.

     Hanks is a former law enforcement officer who helped make and sell illicit designer drugs commonly known as “spice” and “bath salts.” “Spice” and “bath salts” are drugs that look like marijuana or cocaine but are falsely labeled and sold as innocuous household products like “incense,” “potpourri,” or “bath treatments” in an effort to circumvent federal drug and consumer laws.

     Through this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, agents determined that Hanks assisted co-conspirators make and sell “spice” products. Later, Hanks made and sold a “bath salt” product called “Flash Bang” that was redistributed in Arizona and elsewhere. “Flash Bang” contained the chemical 4-MEC, which is a stimulant compound that Hanks ordered from China.

      Hanks’ involvement in this conspiracy ended in the summer of 2011 when he joined the Federal Air Marshal Service. Prior to his involvement in this case, Hanks was employed as a police officer with the Salt Lake City, Utah, and Gilbert, Ariz., police departments and as a security contractor with the Department of Defense in Iraq.

     The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The prosecution was handled by D. J. Pashayan, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2017-007_Hanks

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Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 1, 2017