Springfield Man Pleads Guilty to $6.7 Million K2 Distribution Conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to a $6.7 million scheme that involved the distribution of approximately 2.2 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly referred to as K2.
Brandon D. Franklin, 28, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Franklin admitted that he engaged in a mail fraud scheme by selling and shipping (via FedEx) Kryp2nite products, which were falsely labeled as “incense” and “not for human consumption,” but in reality are intended for human consumption as a drug. He manufactured and distributed K2 to retail outlets in Springfield, Joplin and elsewhere through his Springfield business, ThirdEye.
Between Oct. 29, 2009, and Nov. 6, 2012, Franklin deposited $6,760,041 in proceeds from the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids into his bank accounts. Based upon a review of invoices seized during the investigation, Franklin charged approximately $3 per gram of synthetic cannabinoid. Therefore, Franklin distributed approximately 2,253 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids.
Franklin also admitted to his role in a money laundering conspiracy related to conducting financial transactions involving the proceeds of unlawful activity, which were designed to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the proceeds.
Franklin must forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the offenses, including a money judgment of $6,760,041; real estate in Springfield, Mo., Rogersville, Mo., Springfield, Ore., and Redding, Calif.; the funds contained in several bank accounts totaling more than $535,000; and investment funds totaling $267,632.
Under federal statutes, Franklin is subject to a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Today’s conviction is the result of a large-scale investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies into the distribution of K2, the slang term for synthetic cannabinoid products. 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.This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Webb City, Mo., Police Department, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Greene County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.