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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Sentenced for Misdemeanor Conviction for Misbranding Drugs and Tobacco Products

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Abdelrhman Barash, 37, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to a year and a day in prison followed by one year of supervised release for misbranding drug or tobacco products.

Barash was charged in a criminal complaint with “spice” trafficking on Sept. 5, 2014, in Bernalillo County, N.M., based on a sale of synthetic cannabinoids to an undercover officer at Barash’s store, Snack & Smoke Shop at 2118 Central Ave. in Albuquerque.  Thereafter, Barash was indicted and charged with distributing a controlled substance analogue on Sept. 5, 2014.

On Dec. 28, 2015, Barash pled guilty to a misdemeanor information charging him with two counts of delivering misbranded food, drugs, tobacco products, devices or cosmetics into interstate commerce.   In entering the guilty plea, Barash admitted that on Sept. 5, 2014, he owned and worked at Snack & Smoke Shop and that on that date he introduced into interstate commerce at least two packages of a misbranded product. 

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer M. Rozzoni. 

The controlled substances charged in the complaint and indictment are synthetic cannabinoids, commonly referred to as “spice.”  According to the DEA, over the past several years, there has been a growing use of synthetic cannabinoids.  Smoke-able herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high have become increasingly popular because they are easily available and, in many cases, more potent and dangerous than marijuana.  These products consist of plant material that has been coated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  These substances, however, have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.  Synthetic cannabinoids often are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

Updated March 31, 2016