The Owners Of Ohio Head Shops Among Five Indicted For Distribution Of Synthetic Cannabinoids Sold As Spice Or K2
The owners of a chain of head shops were among five people indicted for conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids for their sale of products with names such as spice and K2, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Indicted are: Sean Lightner and Sherry Lightner, both 38 and both of Grafton; Dale Drummond, 39, of Cleveland; Mark Picard, 32, of Whittier, Calif. and Nathan Albright, 28, of Glendale, Arizona.
“These defendants sold a product that was designed to mimic an illegal drug,” Dettelbach said. “No matter what it was labeled or whatever clever name it was given, it was illegal.”
Synthetic cannabinoids are a large family of chemically unrelated structures functionally similar to THC. Synthetic cannabinoids may contain Schedule I controlled substances or controlled substance analogues and have purported physchotropic effects when smoked or ingested.
The Lightners operated a chain of head shops (retail stores specializing in drug and smoking paraphernalia) doing business as Twilight Boutique, where they sold synthetic cannabinoids along with accessories such as bongs, pipes and rolling papers, according to the indictment.
They franchised the Twilight Boutique on Madison Avenue in Lakewood to Dale Drummond for a percentage of the store’s monthly revenue. Drummond also sold synthetic cannabinoids from the store, according to the indictment.
The Lightners expanded their business to include several locations in Ohio after they began selling synthetic cannabinoids. They control Twilight Corp., located on Royalton Road in Grafton, and the Twilight Boutique stores located on State Route 43 in Streetsboro, Cleveland Road West in Sandusky, Pearl Road in Brunswick, North Abbe Road in Elyria, Lorain Road in Fairview Park, Whipple Avenue in Plain Township, North Court Street in Athens, Midway Plaza in Tallmadge, South Alex Road in West Carrollton, West Fourth Street in Ontario and Clinton Plaza Drive in Oneonta, N.Y., according to the indictment.
The Lightners presented laboratory reports to others, including employees, alleging that the synthetic cannabinoids sold in the Twilight Boutique stores did not contain controlled substances or controlled substance analogues in an effort to give the appearance that the synthetic cannabinoids were legal when the Lightners knew they were illegal, according to the indictment.
Albright sold synthetic cannabinoids through his company, Desert Distribution, LLC and Albright and Picard sold synthetic cannabinoids through their company, Royal Dutch, LLC.
Prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit more than $225,000 in cash seized, as well as three vehicles and property in Grafton, according to the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Teresa Dirksen following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Enforcement Administration—Tactical Diversion Squad, Internal Revenue Service -- Criminal Investigations, Lorain County Drug Task Force, Medina County Drug Task Force, Portage County Drug Task Force, Westshore Enforcement Bureau, MEDWAY Drug Enforcement Agency, METRICH Enforcement Unit, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Linndale Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Cleveland Police Department, Ontario Police Department, Sandusky Police Department, Ohio HIDTA and the Ohio State Patrol.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.