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Press Release

Manchester Man Arrested for Trafficking Synthetic Cannaboids

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

            CONCORD - Heath Palmer, 39, of Manchester, was arrested on a federal complaint charging him with possessing a synthetic cannabinoid product containing 5F-MDMB-PICA with intent to distribute, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.

            The complaint filed in court alleges that on April 18, 2019, Palmer was observed by police officers conducting hand-to-hand sales from a car.  The Manchester Police stopped Palmer and he voluntarily turned over the product he was selling.  Palmer claimed that the product did not contain illegal substances.  Testing by the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory confirmed, however, that the product did contain an illegal substance, 5F-MDMB-PICA.

            On May 7, 2019, Palmer was informed by the Manchester Police that the substance he was selling was in fact illegal.  Three days later, the Manchester Police observed Palmer continue to make hand-to-hand sales from a car.  The police stopped the car and seized the product that Palmer was selling.  The product was again tested and it contained the same illegal substance. 

            Palmer appeared before a federal magistrate judge today and was detained pending further proceedings.

            The charges in the complaint are only allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

            According to the DEA, synthetic cannabinoids, which commonly are referred to by names such as “Spice” or “K2,” are designer drugs that are made in laboratories.  The chemicals often are sprayed onto plant substances and then smoked in order to obtain a high.  These substances have severe adverse effects and have often led to overdoses and deaths.  In addition to the dangers associated with the chemical substances themselves, the lack of manufacturing standards may lead to increased health risks. 

            The DEA issued a regulation on April 16, 2019, that made 5F-MDMB-PICA and several other synthetic cannabinoids Schedule I controlled substances.  In its order, the DEA noted that this drug had been associated with over 47 overdoses in Connecticut and at least 244 overdoses in Washington, D.C.  Further information is available at

            “Synthetic cannabinoids present a very serious risk to public health,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “I urge residents of the Granite State to avoid these dangerous substances.  You literally do not know what you are putting into your body and can jeopardize your health by using these potentially deadly drugs.  We will work closely with our law enforcement partners to stop the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids in the Granite State.

            “There is a misconception that synthetic cannabinoids, known on the street as synthetic marijuana, K2, and spice are safe.  Synthetic cannabinoids are anything but safe,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.  “They are a toxic cocktail of lethal chemicals with serious health and safety risks.  This investigation represents the strength of New Hampshire law enforcement’s efforts to combat this emerging public threat.”

             “I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office for their help in this matter,” said Chief Carlo Capano, Manchester Police Department. “The collaboration we received from them was essential in getting to this point.”

            The case was investigated by the Manchester Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth R. Aframe.



Updated January 10, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 19-074