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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Grand Jury Indicts Two Alleged Distributors of Spice, K2 in Springfield Area

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The grand jury today charged Letha Dean and Abdul G. Alsamah on charges that they conspired to possess and distribute synthetic cannabinoids, known as Spice or K2, from retail stores The Crossing II and Mystic Enchantments in Springfield. Dean, 71, of Salisbury, Ill., was arrested and charged by complaint on April 13, and was ordered detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Alsamah, 48, currently of Merced, Calif., was arrested on April 26, and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Eastern District of California on April 27. Alsamah is scheduled to appear in federal court in California on May 3, for a hearing regarding detention and removal to the Central District of Illinois.

The indictment alleges that Alsamah and Dean conspired together and with others from November 2014 to at least March 2016, to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute synthetic cannabinoids. The two allegedly distributed the substances from The Crossing II and Mystic Enchantments, retail stores in Springfield. Mystic Enchantments previously operated at 2828 E. Clear Lake Ave., Springfield, in the same building with The Crossing II, a liquor store. At the time of Dean’s arrest, Mystic Enchantments was operating at 1020 W. Lawrence Ave. Alsamah allegedly managed the distribution operation and established the prices for the sale of the synthetic cannabinoids, including by Dean through Mystic Enchantments.

According to publicly disseminated DEA drug fact information, K2 and Spice are two of the many trade names or brands for synthetic cannabinoids which are human-made, mind-altering chemicals developed to mimic the effects of THC, the main active ingredient of marijuana. They are often marketed under the guise of “herbal incense” or “potpourri.” The synthetic cannabinoids are typically marketed in rectangular, heat-sealed packets with brightly colored wording and street names to appeal to a youthful crowd, such as “Scooby Snax,” “Mr. Happy,” California Dream,” “Hayz,” “AK47,” “OMG,” “Down2Earth,” etc.

Alsamah and Dean are the eighth and ninth defendant respectively charged in a continuing task force investigation of the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids in Central Illinois. This task force, part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, is led by the DEA with the Illinois Attorney General Investigations; Illinois State Police; FBI; Decatur Police Department; Springfield Police Department; Illinois Department of Revenue; and IRS-Criminal Investigation. OCDETF is a Department of Justice program that supports multi-jurisdictional task forces of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct long-term and complex investigations and prosecutions of drug-related crimes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, each defendant is charged with one count of distribution of synthetic cannabinoids and one count of possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids. If convicted, each offense carries a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated May 2, 2018