Two Men, One Woman Sentenced for Operating Synthetic Drug Business from Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey sentenced three defendants this morning for their involvement in a conspiracy to distribute the synthetic drugs known as “spice” and “bath salts,” announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden, for the District of Nevada.
Joshua Michael Riley, 32, of Henderson, Nev., was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release, Nicholas Collado, 32, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and Alexandra Haardt, 28, of Henderson, Nev., was sentenced to three years of probation with a condition of one year of home confinement. They pleaded guilty over the summer to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute a controlled substance and controlled substance analogue. Judge Dorsey also entered final orders of forfeiture against all of the defendants requiring them to turn over in large part to the government approximately $802,000 in bank accounts, $371,000 in gold and silver bars and coins, $32,000 in money orders and checks, $14,700 in jewelry, a Cadillac vehicle, a condominium in Henderson, Nev., and two handguns and ammunition.
Two other defendants were also charged in the conspiracy. Marco Alvarado pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Nov. 12 to 30 months in prison, and Jacob Fisher pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19.
“Spice” and “bath salts” are potent and dangerous substances that are being sold to an unwary public in convenience stores, head shops, gas stations and online,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “These synthetic drugs are powerful substances that when consumed have caused hallucinations and dangerous levels of overdose. We will continue working diligently with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to prosecute persons who callously and recklessly distribute them.”
According to the court records, Riley owned and operated JMR Enterprises in Las Vegas. The defendants ordered chemicals from China, and manufactured controlled substance analogues, such as spice and bath salts, at Riley’s large residence in Las Vegas. The defendants sold the controlled substances online over the website, thesupplyboys.com, using the brand names “Mad Pineapple,” Tiger Blood,” “Mad Max,” and “New Ivory Wave,” and distributed the orders via overnight delivery service on a regular basis to buyers as far east as Philadelphia, Pa. In July 2012, agents executed a federal search warrant at Riley’s home and recovered approximately 26 pounds of synthetic cannabinoids, also known as “spice,” three pounds of synthetic cathinones also known as “bath salts,” packaging materials, baking pans containing substances that were drying outside, and two firearms. Law enforcement investigators also recovered approximately three additional pounds of bath salts, and 47 packages of “spice,” from the mails during the investigation.
“As these sentences make abundantly clear, the manufacture and sale of synthetic drugs is a serious crime,” said Michael Harris, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations Las Vegas. “These substances may have benign names like ‘spice’ and ‘bath salts,’ but they have been linked to serious health complications and even death. Even more troubling, is the fact that the distributors of these dangerous synthetic drugs are packaging and marketing them to appeal to young people.”
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, synthetic drugs are a rapidly emerging threat and there is an increasingly expanding array of synthetic drugs available. Use of synthetic drugs is alarmingly high, especially among young people. The contents and effects of synthetic drugs are unpredictable due to a constantly changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes devoid of quality controls and government regulatory oversight. Health warnings have been issued by numerous public health authorities and poison control centers describing the adverse health effects associated with the use of synthetic drugs. The Administration has been working with federal, congressional, state, local, and non-governmental partners to put policies and legislation in place to combat this threat, and to educate people about the tremendous health risk posed by these substances. For more information on the risks and dangers of synthetic drugs, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller and investigated by ICE HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the DEA.