Four Fulton Men Plead Guilty to $6.6 Million K2 Conspiracy
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that four Fulton, Mo., men have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracies related to the distribution of more than $6.6 million of synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, at Callaway County, Mo., businesses.
Shawn Michael Browning, 26, Timothy Christopher Sandfort, 30, and Brandon Derek Rader, 32, all of Fulton, pleaded guilty today in an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth. Joshua Adam Sheets, 30, of Fulton, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016.
Browning, Sandfort, Sheets and Rader each pleaded guilty to participating in a mail fraud conspiracy from Dec. 18, 2012, to July 16, 2015, and to participating in a money-laundering conspiracy during that time; both conspiracies were related to the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids.
Browning, Sandfort, Sheets, and Rader are among seven co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case. Dara Leanne Shirley, 30, of Fulton, pleaded guilty to participating in the money-laundering conspiracy. Casey Dewayne Miller, 32, of Columbia, and Billie L. Bruce, 36, of Jefferson City, each pleaded guilty to distributing synthetic cannabinoids.
According to court documents, the drug-trafficking conspiracy generated $6,656,843 in gross proceeds. Rader and Sandfort each acknowledged that his conduct directly contributed to the generation of approximately $4,544,700 of that total; under the terms of today’s plea agreements, they must forfeit a money judgment of that amount to the government. Browning and Sheets each acknowledged that his conduct directly contributed to the generation of approximately $2,112,142 of that total; under the terms of today’s plea agreement, they must forfeit a money judgment of that amount to the government.
Sandfort, Rader, Shirley, Miller and others operated First Stop Last Stop Pawn & Aromatherapy, Inscentives Resale and Inscentives Auto. First Stop Last Stop Pawn & Aromatherapy represented itself as a “pawn shop” and “potpourri store.” Inscentives Resale was represented to be a “buy, sell, and trade business.” Inscentives Auto held a Missouri motor vehicle dealer’s license. Browning, Sheets, Bruce and others operated Esscentials Resale and S&J Tobacco.
These businesses purchased synthetic cannabinoids from co-conspirators in California and Nevada. At least 251 shipments of synthetic cannabinoids were made via FedEx and UPS. Inscentives Resale sold synthetic cannabinoids from locations in Auxvasse, Mo., and Fulton. Esscentials Resale and S&J Tobacco sold synthetic cannabinoids from locations in Holts Summit, Mo.
Browning, Sandfort, Sheets, Rader and others obtained packages of synthetic cannabinoids from co-conspirators and periodically supplied each other with packages of synthetic cannabinoids for resale.
The packages of synthetic cannabinoids bore misbranded labels that misidentified the contents as “incense,” “aroma therapy” or “potpourri” that were “not for human consumption.” In fact, these products were drugs intended for human consumption as a drug. Conspirators mislabeled packages of synthetic cannabinoids for the purpose of avoiding government regulation over these drugs, and to protect the continued sale of these drugs.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the DEA Task Force – Jefferson City, DEA Sacramento, Calif., DEA Reno, Nev., IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the MUSTANG Drug Task Force, the Callaway County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Cole County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Jefferson City, Mo., Police Department, the Fulton, Mo., Police Department and the Holts Summit, Mo., Police Department.