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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 17, 2014

Former Owners and Employees of Hampton Pipe and Tobacco Arrested

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The former owner of Hampton Pipe and Tobacco, Jayson Mickle, along with nine others, were arrested yesterday and charged in a multi-count indictment relating to the distribution of controlled substance analogues, aka “Spice,” among other charges.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C.,  made the announcement after initial court appearances took place in Norfolk, Virginia, before United States Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller.  The defendants were all ordered held in custody pending a detention hearing in Newport News on October 20, 2014.

According to the indictment, the defendants ostensibly sold Blueberry Hedgehog, Cherry Hedgehog, Purp, Hampster Purp, Easta Pink and Yella to the public as “Aromatic Potpourri” and “Herbal Incense”, but they contained synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. The defendants intended each to be smokable products, and consequently were subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws and regulations. The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations considers these products as “street drug alternatives”, and as such, has concluded they pose a potential threat to public health.

The indictment includes the following charges, although individual defendant charges vary: Conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substance analogues (aka “Spice”), conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States, distribution of controlled substance analogues, misbranding, mail fraud, importation of a controlled substance, smuggling goods into the United States, maintaining drug involved premises, possession of acetone with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, distribution of drug paraphernalia, use of a communication facility to commit a drug crime and money laundering.  In addition to the criminal charges, the United States is seeking the forfeiture of 61 specific property items and a money judgment of nearly $13.15 million. According to the indictment, the charges arose from the individuals’ involvement with Hampton Pipe and Tobacco, a store formerly owned by Jayson Mickle, in the production and distribution of synthetic cannabinoids or “Spice”.

Jayson Mickle, 29, of Hampton, Virginia; Amanda Rowe, 30, of Hampton; Sandra Cooke, 52, of Hampton; Phillip Gibson, 45, of Hampton; Jake Pham, 29, of Newport News; David Jay Mickle, 52, of Hayes, Virginia; David Joseph Mickle, 31, of Hampton; Margaret Amber Phillips Cooper, 31, of Gloucester, Virginia; Jaime Wainwright, 24, of Hampton; Abigail Rose Phillips, 29 of Hampton; Christopher Ellis, 30, of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Justin Calderon, 32, of New York, New York; were charged in a multi-count indictment returned by a United States grand jury sitting in Newport News, Virginia.

Jayson Mickle, Rowe, Cooke, Gibson, Pham, David Jay Mickle, David Joseph Mickle, Margaret Amber Phillips Cooper, Jamie Wainwright, and Abigail Rose Phillips were arrested yesterday by federal, state and local law enforcement agents.

As the arrests were taking place, law enforcement agents also executed federal search warrants at Jayson Mickle’s home at 69 Chowning Drive in Hampton, and a business location associated with Angry Monkey Glass at 915 G Street in Hampton.

This investigation began more than two years ago in Gloucester County. The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations; FDA Office of Criminal Investigations; Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Virginia State Police;  Tri-Rivers and Peninsula Task Forces; U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; Hampton Police Division; Newport News Police Department; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Virginia Department of Emergency Services; Virginia Fusion Center; and the Virginia Marine Resources Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric M. Hurt and Kevin Hudson are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:14-cr-00053.

Updated March 26, 2015