Meridian Man Pleads Guilty to Importation of Chemicals to Manufacture Synthetic Cannabinoid and Illegal Possession of Firearms
Jackson, Miss. – Bilal Hamid Love, 35, of Meridian, pled guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour III to importing the controlled substance AB-PINACA and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.
"We will remain vigilant in order to capture this poison being sent through our mail system before it hits our streets and harms our citizens. I commend our Postal agents, Homeland Security agents and prosecutor for being proactive and catching this criminal before he hurt our community even more," said U.S. Attorney Hurst.
On March 22, 2015, agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service found two packages that were coming from Hong Kong to a resident in Meridian, Mississippi. Inside the packages was AB-PINACA, a powder that is used in making synthetic cannabinoid. Love lives in Meridian and was also the manager at a local sporting goods store in Meridian. Agents searched the sporting goods store and found 3 firearms and numerous packages of synthetic cannabinoid for sale. Agents also searched Love’s home and found numerous items that are used in making synthetic cannabinoid, such as sprayers, AB-PINACA, flavoring, and dryers. Agents also found more firearms, cocaine and marijuana plants. Love was charged in a multi-count federal indictment on March 7, 2018.
"Homeland Security Investigations is highly focused on identifying illegal cross-border shipments as one of its highest priorities," said Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans Jere T. Miles. "The boldness of this criminal effort to import illegal drugs into the U.S. through the mail seriously underestimated the dedication of HSI and its federal partners to identify and seek prosecution of those engaged in this brazen criminal activity."
Love faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $1 million fine. A sentencing date will be determined by the Court.
This case was a joint investigation by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory, and the United States Marshal Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin Chalk.