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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vero Beach Couple Pleads Guilty to Importing Controlled Substances, “Bath Salts” and “Molly,” from China

This week, a Vero Beach husband and wife pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import controlled substances, commonly referred to as “bath salts” and “molly,” from China into the United States.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Antonio J. Gomez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, made the announcement. 

On September 19, 2016, Julius Andrew Reason, III, 32, from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963; and conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 846 and 841(a)(1).  

On September 21, 2016, Julius Reason’s wife, Venteria Leanet Reason, 28, also from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963. 

On March 28, 2016, codefendant Nathasha Thames, 28, also from Vero Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 952(a) and 963; and conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, §§ 846 and 841(a)(1); and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance- Dibutylone HCI,  in violation of Title 21, United States Code, § 841(a)(1).

The defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of twenty years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.  The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2016, before U.S. District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg.

According to Court records, in January of 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted a  border search of an international mail parcel shipped from Shanghai, China, destined for a U.S. Post Office (P.O.) Box located in Vero Beach, Florida, and  found the parcel to contain approximately one kilogram of Dibutylone HCI, a synthetic cathinone, a/k/a “bath salts,” a schedule I controlled substance.  USPIS records showed that Thames had applied and paid for the P.O. Box.  On January 14, 2016, Julius Reason contacted the Vero Beach Post Office, inquiring about the whereabouts of two parcels.  On January 15, 2016, Julius Reason was notified that his packages were ready for pickup.  Thames then visited the post office and picked up the packages, before meeting Julius Reason and turning over the parcels.  When Julius Reason saw law enforcement he fled from the scene, throwing both parcels. 

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized items including, a loaded 9mm firearm from Julius Reason’s vehicle and electronic devices, wire transfer records, Chinese chemical company business cards, and $10,168.00 in U.S. currency from his residences.

The investigation further revealed that between June 2014 and January 2016, Julius reason and his wife Venteria Reason sent wire transfers to China exceeding $59,000.  Julius Reason, Venteria Reason, and Thames, exchanged communications with Chinese chemical company representatives discussing prices and ordering synthetic cathinones, including Dibutylone and Ethylone, Schedule I controlled substances.  The defendants also communicated by text message regarding the local delivery and sales of another controlled substance, commonly referred to as “molly.”

Between June 2014, and January 18, 2016, at least 20 parcels were shipped from China to U.S. P.O. Boxes and addresses linked to Reason and Venteria Reason, in the Southern District of Florida.  Five of those parcels were seized by law enforcement and thirteen parcels were delivered. 

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, the USPIS and DEA.  Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Indian River Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated September 22, 2016