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Press Release

Former Owner of Drug Paraphernalia Store Sentenced to Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty to a Conspiracy to Import, Transport and Sell Drug Paraphernalia and to Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Sean Weston, age 56, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, yesterday to 15 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release, after Weston pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to import, transport, and sell drug paraphernalia and to tax evasion.  

The sentenced was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) - Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge Kareem A. Carter of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Commissioner Richard Worley of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, from January 2015 through at least July 2019, Weston operated the Northwest Variety store, where he sold empty gel capsules, colored plastic tops, dust masks, metal strainers, electric weighing scales, razor blades, and mannite and quinine, which are used as drug cutting agents.  Weston admitted that he purchased hundreds of kilograms of quinine from China.  Quinine’s only approved use is a prescription medication for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.  Importation of quinine for any other use is illegal.  To conceal his purchase of quinine, Weston communicated with his foreign supplier and requested that the quinine be labelled as something else, such as “beta glucan.”

As detailed in his plea agreement, Weston also failed to file federal income tax returns with the IRS for tax years 2016 through 2018.  In addition to owning the Northwest Variety Store, which had significant profits during that time, Weston was on the payroll of a water treatment facility.  To conceal his income from the IRS, Weston conducted his finances substantially in cash.  For example, from 2016 through 2018, Weston paid $29,835 in cash for the monthly rent for the Northwest Variety Store and deposited $352,026 in cash into two personal bank accounts.  In 2016 and 2017 Weston paid cash down payments of $25,000 and $15,000, respectively, for the purchase and lease of Bentley automobiles, with fair market values of more than $117,000 and $139,000.  In 2016, Weston signed a credit application stating that his annual income was $180,000 and in 2017, he had an individual prepare his 2016 tax return, which reflected a gross income of $358,984.  Instead of submitting the return to the IRS, Weston submitted it to the car dealership.  By failing to report his income for tax years 2016 through 2018, Weston caused a tax loss to the United States of more than $98,000.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg commended the DEA, the IRS-CI, and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron and Mr. Goldberg thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth S. Clark and Senior Litigation Counsel John E. Sullivan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

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Marcia Lubin
(410) 209-4854

Updated October 24, 2023

Drug Trafficking