News Column

Synthetic Marijuana Makers Sent to Jail

August 16, 2013

Two Florida men who ran one of the nation's largest synthetic marijuana operations were sentenced to jail time.

John Shealey, co-owner of the West Palm Beach-based Kratom Lab, and his business partner, Dylan Harrison, were sentenced Wednesday to 18 months and 366 days in prison respectively after pleading guilty to conspiring to break federal laws, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

The men admitted to plotting to distribute an illegal substance and selling a misbranded drug -- a form of synthetic marijuana they called "Mr. Nice Guy." As part of a plea agreement, the men agreed to turn over more than $2 million in assets.

At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, defense attorneys for Shealey and Harrison alleged that the two did not know the product they were selling, which was labelled as a herbal incense and sold at gas stations, convenience stores and online, was illegal. When the government listed chemical Kratom Lab used as illegal, the men destroyed any products containing it, said Marc Seitles, Shealey's attorney.

Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Stefin argued the men had to have known that what they were doing was questionable, if not illegal.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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