St. Petersburg “Spice” Manufacturers Convicted
Tampa, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that a federal jury today found Fayez Abu-Aish (51, St. Petersburg) and Nedal Abu-Aish (48, St. Petersburg) guilty of conspiring to distribute, distribution of, and possession with the intent to distribute a substance containing XLR-11. Each faces penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Trial testimony revealed that XLR-11 is a synthetic cannabinoid, typically imported from China, that is applied to plant material to create a smokable drug often called “Spice.” On March 28, 2014, following a lengthy investigation, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force raided a clandestine laboratory in St. Petersburg where the Abu-Aish brothers were manufacturing these smokable synthetic cannabinoids using the chemical XLR-11. Agents seized finished product, other chemicals, plant material, and packaging materials. Searches of storage units resulted in the seizure of thousands of packages containing XLR-11 laced plant material ready for distribution. Some of the brands seized included “Scooby Snax,” “OMG,” “Mr. Happy,” and “Mind Trip.”
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the St. Petersburg Police Department, and the Clearwater Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James C. Preston.