Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Synthetic Drugs
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in the distribution of synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K2.
Matthew Ashby Hawkins, 41, of Columbia, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud between March 1, 2011, and Oct. 2, 2013.
Hawkins was a partner in two companies, Dynamic Scents and its successor, Order-Refill, LLC. Three of his partners in those companies – Alexander Vladimir McMillin, also known as “Shasha,” 32, Patrick Ross Hawkins, 34, and Molly Jane Charmichael, 38, all of Columbia – have also pleaded guilty to the mail fraud conspiracy. They are among 15 defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.
By pleading guilty today, Hawkins admitted that he sold wholesale orders of packaged synthetic drugs to customers throughout the state of Missouri. These packages of synthetic marijuana bore misleading labeling regarding the contents and nature of the product in order to avoid detection by law enforcement officers.
Hawkins and his business partners falsely and misleadingly referred to these synthetic drug products as “incense,” “herbal incense,” “potpourri,” “therapeutic potpourri,” that were labeled as “not intended for human consumption,” when, in fact, these products were synthetic drugs intended for consumption in order to obtain a physiological “high.” When sold at retail stores, these products were often located next to products and paraphernalia used for smoking the substances.
Law enforcement officers seized $177,398 from the bank account of Order-Refill, which must be forfeited to the government.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government and Hawkins agree that a sentence of 63 to 78 months is appropriate. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the MUSTANG Task Force, the LANEG Drug Task Force, the Cole County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Morgan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Camden County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Camdenton, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kirksville, Mo., Police Department, the North Missouri Drug Task Force, the Schuyler County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Edina, Mo., Police Department, the Linn County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Brookfield, Mo., Police Department.