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Press Release

Smoke Shop Owner Who Fled to Brazil in 2014 Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Selling K2

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Judge Called Al Sharairei’s K2 Business a “Total Scam”

A man who sold K2 from a smoke shop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and who fled the country in 2014 after being charged with federal drug crimes was sentenced July 25, 2023, to 20 years in federal prison.

Mohammad Al Sharairei, age 47, previously from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 12, 2022 jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of maintaining a premises for the distribution of controlled substance analogues and one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substance analogues.

The evidence at trial showed that in 2012 and 2013, Al Sharairei and his wife owned and operated a smoke shop on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids called Puff N Stuff II.  During June 2013, federal agents raided Puff N Stuff II and seized thousands of packets of K2 which were labeled as “novelty items,” “potpourri,” and “incense” and contained a warning that the products were “not for human consumption.”  Some names of the “potpourri” products were Bizarro, Grave Digger, Lights Out, and Mega Kush.  The substances in the packages were determined to contain synthetic cannabinoids called PB‑22 and 5F‑PB‑22.  Trial evidence showed that these synthetic cannabinoid substances are far more potent than marijuana and have been associated with severe psychological and physical effects, including death.  Trial evidence showed that, despite labeling the products as “not for human consumption” and having a store policy that customers could not talk about smoking the products, Al Sharairei himself smoked the “incense.”

Evidence at sentencing showed that, even after the June 2013 DEA raid of his business, Al Sharairei continued selling synthetic cannabinoids.  In August 2013, Al Sharairei and his wife called the police to report a theft of synthetic cannabinoids from a vehicle at their Cedar Rapids residence.  When responding police informed Al Sharairei that they would be calling DEA to seize the rest of the synthetic cannabinoid products in the vehicle, Al Sharairei declared that he did not care if they took it, and that he had already ordered another shipment that would be on the way.  Trial evidence also showed that after Al Sharairei was charged and appeared in federal court, he fled the country in 2014 prior to a scheduled hearing.  He remained a fugitive until he was extradited back to the United States from Brazil.

Seized store records from Puff N Stuff II showed that between January 2012 and June 26, 2013, the store had sold over $1.3 million in synthetic cannabinoid products.  At sentencing, the judge found that Al Sharairei was responsible for over 78 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids.  The sentencing judge commented that Al Sharairei’s actions were “brazen” and that his business selling synthetic cannabinoids in packaging labeled “not for human consumption” was “a total scam.”

Al Sharairei was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Al Sharairei was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently.  He also was ordered to forfeit $425,000 in drug proceeds.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Al Sharairei is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.  The DEA Task Force consists of the DEA, the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the Marion Police Department, and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham and Special Assistant United States Attorney Adam Vander Stoep. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 14‑CR‑63‑LTS‑MAR.

Updated July 26, 2023

Drug Trafficking