Allegany County Business Owners Agree To Forfeit Almost $174,000 To Settle Allegations That They Sold Synthetic Drugs
Operated Puff & Stuff Stores at Three Locations in Cumberland and LaVale
Baltimore, Maryland – Charles and Traci Casey, the owners of Puff & Stuff stores in Cumberland and LaVale, Maryland, have agreed to forfeit $173,988.61, to settle claims that they sold synthetic drugs at their stores.
The settlement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and the members of the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Task Force (C3I),Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Cumberland Police Chief Charles H. Hinnant, Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson; Frostburg Police Chief Royce C. Douty, Frostburg University Chief of Police Cindy R. Smith, and Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg.
According to the settlement agreement and complaint for forfeiture, in April 2012, the Maryland State Police received complaints about a business called “Puff & Stuff,” that operated in Cumberland. The complaints stated that the business is a “head shop,” (a business that sells drug-related paraphernalia including smoking devices and other related items) and sold synthetic drugs. The synthetic drugs are often labeled as different brands, but they are commonly referred to as “spice.” As set forth in the complaint, what the Caseys were selling as “spice” was leafy vegetable matter sprayed with chemicals that have a pharmacological effect on the human body that is similar to that of marijuana. Puff & Stuff currently operates at two locations in Cumberland and another in LaVale, Maryland. A Maryland State Police Task Force initiated an investigation and conducted five controlled purchases of spice from Puff & Stuff stores beginning on April 23, 2012 through February 27, 2013. As a result of the investigation, on March 7, 2013, officers executed five search and seizure warrants at the Casey’s residence; the three Puff & Stuff store locations; and for two of the Casey’s bank accounts, seizing a total of $259,988.61 in cash and numerous packets of spice.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Government has agreed to release $86,000 of the seized funds and the Caseys have agreed to withdraw their claims to the remaining $173,988.61. In addition, the Caseys have agreed to stop selling any substances marked or distributed as “potpourri,” “spice,” or “bath salts.”
The claims settled by this agreement are allegations, and there has been no determination of liability.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA and Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Task Force (C3I), comprised of the Maryland State Police, Cumberland Police Department, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Frostburg Police Department, Frostburg University Police Department and Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stefan D. Cassella, who handled the forfeiture.