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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rochester Man Charged With Possession And Distribution Of Synthetic Cannabinoids

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:           (716) 843-5817
FAX:                 (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Mohammed W. Akram, 27, of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of, controlled substances. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who handled the case, stated that according to the complaint, between January 22, 2015 and April 14, 2015, the defendant sold synthetic cannabinoids out of Best in the West, a store he operated on Jay St. in Rochester.

Following multiple undercover purchases over a period of time, Akram was stopped by law enforcement officers on April 14, 2015, as he was headed to Buffalo from Rochester. During a search of the defendant’s vehicle on the I390, officers recovered three gallons of suspected liquid synthetic cannabinoids.

Subsequently, search warrants were executed at the defendant’s store and residence above the store. During the search, officers found additional synthetic cannabinoids, both liquid form (approximately 850 small bottles) and “spice” form (approximately 2000 packets).

“The public, from parents to police, need to be aware that these synthetic  drugs are now being put into electronic cigarettes and ingested, said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “And like all illegal drugs, these substances can pose a serious danger to those who abuse them.”

The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott and is being held pending a detention hearing on April 16, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.   

The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, New York, New York Field Division, and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Craig Hanesworth.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated April 16, 2015