Two Plead Guilty in Scheme to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes related to the distribution of thousands of kilograms of synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K2.
Sharon Elizabeth Harrington, 27, of Bunceton, Mo., and Chadwick James Schlicht, 44, of Osage Beach, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth on Monday, March 31, 2015.
Harrington pleaded guilty to participating in a mail fraud conspiracy in Boone County, Mo., from March 2011, to December 2013. Harrington, who was the manager and ran the day-to-day operations of Impulse Market, LLC, was responsible for overseeing the manufacturing process for what was falsely labeled as “incense” or “potpourri” and was labeled “not for human consumption.” Harrington admitted that this “incense” or “potpourri” was actually synthetic cannabinoids mixed with acetone then sprayed onto a plant-like material. These substances, which were mailed or delivered by commercial carrier, were intended for human consumption as a drug in order to obtain a physiological effect of a high. Harrington admitted that she conspired to defraud the Food and Drug Administration and the public by mailing products that were misbranded and bore false and misleading labeling.
Based upon the invoices, bank records, and products seized by law enforcement, Harrington (through her employment with Impulse Market), oversaw the manufacture, sale and distribution of synthetic cannabinoid products, which were produced from approximately 167 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids obtained from China. Harrington admitted that she sold, in aggregate, multiple kilogram quantities of synthetic cannabinoid products.
In one example cited in the plea agreement, Harrington mailed a parcel of synthetic marijuana to a business in Oklahoma on May 6, 2013. In return for the products, Impulse Market was paid $89,458.
Schlicht pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Schlicht admitted that items seized from his residence by Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers were intended for the manufacture of synthetic marijuana. State troopers executed a search warrant at Schlicht’s residence on Oct. 27, 2012. They seized $1,840, three firearms, numerous packages of synthetic marijuana, and numerous materials related to the manufacture of synthetic marijuana (including packaging materials, bulk amounts of plant-like materials, labels, cans of acetone and two bags containing a total of more than 1.4 kilograms of synthetic powder that is a controlled substance analogue.
Under federal statutes, Harrington and Schlicht are each subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. 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 Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart J. Zander. 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.