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Smoke shop owner sentenced to prison for selling synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs have taken many states in the U.S. by storm. When taken, these chemically laced substances mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana. Often referred to as bath salts or spice, various forms of synthetic drugs are legal in some states and sold over-the-counter in convenience stores and tobacco shops. In 2011, Wisconsin enacted a law making the two major forms of synthetic drugs, synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones, illegal in the state.

A Duluth smoke shop owner was allegedly unaware of Minnesota’s ban on the sale of synthetic drugs when he was arrested and charged with 51 counts stemming from the sale of the illegal substances. The man claimed that statements made by the DEA had led him to believe the substances were still legal in the state. Law enforcement claims that the man was given multiple warnings to stop selling synthetic substances because he was in violation of the law.

Although the shop owner was convicted of the charges last October, he just recently received a sentence of 17 ½ years in prison. His former girlfriend, who was also involved in the sale of the illegal substances, was charged with four counts and given five years in prison. An assistant U.S. attorney announced that this case helps to establish the state’s stance on synthetic drugs and how those selling the substances may face criminal charges.

People may not realize the strict consequences of their actions until it is too late. Those who face criminal drug charges may find it helpful to partner with a defense attorney who has knowledge of Wisconsin state laws.

Source: SF Gate, “Synthetic drug seller gets 17 ½ years in prison,” Steve Karnowski, Aug, 14, 2014.

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