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Press Release

St. Petersburg “Spice” Manufacturers Sentenced

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

Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge Steven D. Merryday has sentenced Fayez Abu-Aish (51)and Nedal Abu-Aish (48) to 14 years in prison each for conspiring to distribute, distribution of, and possession with the intent to distribute a substance containing XLR-11. A federal jury found them both guilty in April 2017.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James C. Preston

Updated June 24, 2024

Drug Trafficking