Seven More Individuals Indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute Synthetic Drugs
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that seven more individuals have been charged along with the original eight individuals and a business previously indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K2.
Wesley Adam Upchurch, 27, of Columbia, Mo., Jimmy Dean Moore, 49, and his wife, Tina Irene Moore, 44, owners of Moore-4-You in Queen City, Mo., Sharon Elizabeth Harrington, 27, of Bunceton, Mo., Travis Scott Lovett, 34, of Purdin, Mo., Jessica Lynn Lovett, 31, of Bucklin, Mo., and Michael Sosnowski, 29, of Jefferson City, Mo., were charged in a 13-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City, Mo., on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrest and initial court appearance of Upchurch.
The superseding indictment replaces an Oct. 18, 2013, federal indictment; the superseding indictment contains additional charges and includes the original defendants: Matthew Ashby Hawkins, 39, his brother, Patrick Ross Hawkins, 32, and his sister, Molly Jane Carmichael, 37, all of Columbia, Alexander Vladimir McMillin, 29, of Columbia, Kent Allen Holtz, 43, of Kaiser, Mo., Chadwick James Schlicht, 44, of Osage Beach, Mo., Charles Sterling Austin, Jr., 61, of St. Charles, Mo., Scott Wesley Hanson, 48, of Versailles, Mo., Thomas Lee McCormack, 29, of Jefferson City, and Puff N Snuff, a retail business in Eldon, Mo.
The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, also known as synthetic marijuana or K2, between March 1, 2011, and Oct. 2, 2013. K2 is a mixture of plant material that has been sprayed or mixed with a synthetic chemical compound similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. K2 products are often labeled as “incense,” but in reality are intended for human consumption as a drug.
The federal indictment also alleges that Upchurch, McMillin, Matthew Hawkins, Patrick Hawkins, Carmichael, Austin, Tina Moore, Jimmy Moore, Travis Lovett, Jessica Lovett, and Puff n Snuff participated in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They allegedly conspired to defraud the Food and Drug Administration and the public by making false representations that “Mayan” and “4Bidden” products were “incense” and “not for human consumption.” In reality, the indictment says, these products were synthetic marijuana intended for human consumption as a drug and were delivered by commercial carrier such as Federal Express.
The indictment also charges McMillin, Matthew Hawkins, Patrick Hawkins, Carmichael, Austin and Sosnowski with participating in a money-laundering conspiracy from Dec. 7, 2011, to Oct. 2, 2013. According to the indictment, they conspired to engage in financial transactions that involved the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
In addition to the criminal conspiracies, the indictment charges McMillin, Holtz and Hanson with one count each of distributing a controlled substance analogue. McMillin, Hanson and McCormack are also each charged with one count each of possessing a controlled substance analogue with the intent to distribute.
Holtz, Austin, Hanson and McCormack are also charged with one count each of maintaining a place for the purpose of storing and distributing a controlled substance analogue.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged conspiracies, or used to facilitate the alleged conspiracies, including $423,327 seized from Puff N Snuff’s bank account, $177,398 seized from Order Refill’s bank account (controlled by McMillin, Matthew Hawkins, Patrick Hawkins and Carmichael), $14,215 seized from Mozark Products’ bank account (controlled by Sosnowski) and $82,149 seized from McMillin.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart J. Zander. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, 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 and the Camdenton, Mo., Police Department.