Federal Jury Convicts Tempe Designer Drug Manufacturer/Distributor of Federal Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act Violations
One of the nation’s first federal convictions under the analogue provision
JULY 22 (PHOENIX) –On July 19, 2013, Michael Rocky Lane, 51, of Cave Creek, Arizona, was found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substance analogues and possession with the intent to distribute controlled substance analogues by a federal jury in Phoenix. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell from June 25, 2013 through July 19, 2013. Sentencing is set before Judge Campbell on October 21, 2013.
“This verdict serves notice to those who are contemplating entering this emerging area of the illegal drug industry,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. This DEA-led investigation and trial brought to light the fact that controlled substance analogues are highly addictive stimulants and no different than cocaine or methamphetamine. The criminals behind the importation, distribution and selling of these drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits.”
“The manufacture and distribution of designer drugs, which are often mislabeled as innocuous household items and contain chemicals similar to scheduled drugs, are a tremendous problem in our community and across the United States. Individuals who manufacture and distribute these mislabeled designer drugs are responsible for products that have been linked to overdoses, deaths, and hallucinations. My office stands ready to enforce the Analogue Enforcement Act and combat this growing problem,” said John S. Leonardo, U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona.
The evidence at trial showed that, beginning in early 2011, Michael Rocky Lane worked with Nicholas Pascal Zizzo at Consortium Distribution in Phoenix, Arizona. Consortium Distribution manufactured a designer drug called “Eight Ballz Bath Salts,” which contained a powerful stimulant MDPV. In October of 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) entered an emergency order temporarily making MDPV a Schedule I controlled substance. Once MDPV became a Schedule I controlled substance, Lane worked to find a replacement chemical to use in a new designer drug, which was re-labeled as “Eight Ballz Ultra Premium Glass Cleaner.” Consortium’s products were designed to specifically get people high and were never intended as a legitimate glass cleaner or bath salt.
In the fall of 2011, Lane had a falling out with Zizzo, left Consortium Distribution, and started up his own designer drug manufacturing company in Tempe called Dynamic Distribution. There, Lane and Dynamic Distribution manufactured and distributed other mislabeled designer drugs like “Amped Lady Bug Attractant Exuberance Powder,” “White Water Rapid Lady Bug Attractant Exuberance Powder,” and “Snowman Glass Cleaner.” None of these products were legitimate glass cleaners or insect attractants. Instead, these products were all powerful stimulants that contained substances similar to scheduled drugs like APVP, APVP, MPPP, and Pentedrone. Lane obtained these chemicals from individuals in China and Minnesota, was addicted to his own products, and made nearly $8000 a day based upon internet sales of these products to individual customers across the country alone.
The operations at both Consortium Distribution and Dynamic Distribution ended on July 25, 2012, when DEA executed hundreds of search warrants at these and other locations across the country as part of “Operation Log Jam.” “Operation Log Jam” was a nationwide, coordinated investigation led by the Department of Justice and DEA to combat the growing epidemic of designer drug manufacturing and distribution here in the United States.
Other conspirators who were prosecuted in this investigation and who are awaiting sentencing include, Nicholas Pascal Zizzo of Phoenix; Benjamin Joshua Lowenstein of Phoenix, Arizona; Vincent Collura of New Jersey; David Titus of Phoenix; Andrew Scott Freeman of Minnesota; Clinton Strunk of Mesa; Scott Stone of Minnesota; and Daniel Pollock of Escondido, California.
A conviction for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance analogue carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $1,000,000.00 fine or both.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and was assisted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Phoenix Police Department, and the Buckeye Police Department. The prosecution was handled by D. J. Pashayan and Theresa Rassas, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.