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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Man Pleads Guilty to Spice Conspiracy and Distribution Crimes

NORFOLK, Va. – A California man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to traffic in synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “spice,” containing the active ingredient 5-fluoro-ADB. 5-fluoro-ADB has been a schedule I controlled substance since April 10, 2017.

According to court documents, from late September 2016 to August 2017, Robert L. Hoeflein, II, 24, of Long Beach, participated in a conspiracy to sell spice from Odds and Ends II and Happy Daze, establishments located in Chesapeake. In August 2014, Hoeflein was arrested by Chesapeake Police following an investigation that revealed that he was selling spice from Happy Daze. Following his 2014 arrest and conviction for spice possession in Chesapeake General District Court, Hoeflein continued to sell spice from Happy Daze. By early 2016, Hoeflein moved to Long Beach, where he opened up a shop very similar in appearance to Happy Daze, which he named Cali Daze.

In September 2016, Hoeflein entered into an agreement with co-conspirator William Barnes that allowed Barnes to use the space at Odds and Ends II to open up a shop to sell spice. Barnes placed his spice orders with Hoeflein, who had the connection to the ultimate source of supply. At Hoeflein’s request, the source would ship the spice directly to Barnes, who received 25 parcels of spice at between $7,000 and $9,000 per parcel. Hoeflein and Barnes split the profits from the spice sales at Odds and Ends II.

Hoeflein pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5-fluoro-ADB, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on November 5. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Thomas L. Chittum, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, Scott W. Hoernke, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, Eric Shen, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Hudson is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-cr-31.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated July 18, 2018