Store Owners Plead Guilty To Selling Synthetic Cannabinoids
CONCORD, N.H. – Mohamed Alam, 62, of North Andover, Massachusetts, and Murshed Salam, 47, of Salem, New Hampshire, each plead guilty in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to selling synthetic cannabinoids announced Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith. Alam and Salam were selling synthetic cannabinoids under the brand names “Crazy Monkey,” “Sexy Monkey,” “Family Monkey” and “Mad Monkey.” Synthetic cannabinoids are a mixture of a leafy substance that has been sprayed with chemical compounds similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. Users smoke the product. The chemical compounds used in the manufacture of these products are ever changing and pose a significant threat to public health.
On June 26, 2013, a federal search warrant was executed at a convenience store located at 4 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts owned by Alam. The agents seized approximately 100 packages of “Monkey” products. Alam told law enforcement that he knew his customers were smoking the product even though the product packaging included a warning that the product was not for human consumption. Alam identified Murshed Salam of Salem, New Hampshire as his supplier. Agents then went to the Global Gas Station located at 52 Lowell Road, Salem, New Hampshire owned by Salam and seized several hundred more packages of the Monkey products. Salam was also selling the products as well as supplying Alam with the products.
The products Alam and Salam sold were misbranded because they were sold as potpourri when in fact the product was intended for use as a drug for human consumption and the product labeling, in package form, failed to include the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, did not bear adequate directions for use, and did not bear such adequate warnings against use.
“Synthetic cannabinoids present a significant threat to public health,” Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith stated. “This office has notified merchants and businesses about the illegality of selling these products and the dangers they pose to the public. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to investigate and prosecute those businesses who continue to introduce these dangerous products into the stream of commerce.”
“Our school resource officers are educating students of these illicit drugs and their unknown ingredients that can cause traumatic overdose and other medical issues. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement and community partners in combating substances that harm our citizens,” stated Paul J. Gallagher, Chief of North Andover Police.
Alam and Salam each face a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment. Alam agreed to a money forfeiture of $18,737.00 and Salam agreed to a money forfeiture of $18,245.00. Alam is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30, 2015. Salam’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for . Both were released pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the North Andover Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra M. Walsh.