APR 07 (PHOENIX) – DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman and U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo, District of Arizona today announcedthat Nicholas Pascal Zizzo, 27, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced on April 2, 2014 by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to 54 months imprisonment and ordered to forfeit approximately $1.3 million dollars and a business located at 1540 West Hatcher Road, Phoenix, Ariz., after Zizzo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substance analogues.
"These sentences represent DEA's continued commitment to pursue drug traffickers who believe they can skirt our nation's laws and threaten our communities with their poisons," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "For criminals seeking to profit through the sale and manufacturing of these dangerous drugs, our message is clear: we know how you operate; we know where you hide; and we will not stop until we bring you to justice."
A controlled substance analogue is a substance that is specifically intended for human consumption and is also substantially similar in chemical structure, pharmacological effect, or intended effect to drugs already scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act, like cocaine, methamphetamine, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).
According to Court documents, records, and testimony, Zizzo owned Consortium Distribution in Phoenix, Ariz., from early 2011 through July of 2012. Consortium manufactured designer or synthetic drugs, like "Eight Ballz Bath Salts" and "Eight Ballz Ultra Premium Glass Cleaner." These designer drugs had powerful cocaine and methamphetamine-like effects, were manufactured with raw chemicals imported from China and domestically, were specifically designed to get people high, but were nevertheless intentionally mislabeled as innocuous household products in order to circumvent federal consumer and drug laws. These products were then distributed and sold for great profit to "smoke shops," independent gas stations, and convenient stores across the United States. Individual users would often purchase a ½ gram of these designer drugs for up to $60.00 and would snort, smoke, or inject these drugs in order to get a cocaine or methamphetamine-like high.
Zizzo was part of a larger nine defendant investigation and case that included co-defendant Michael Rocky Lane who was guilty by a jury after a 13 day trial in July 2013 of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substance analogues. Lane was previously sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell and ordered to forfeit money and other items including vehicles and real estate.
Lane was formerly an employee of Zizzo's at Consortium Distribution before Lane left to open Dynamic Distribution in Tempe, Ariz., to directly compete with Consortium in the fall of 2011.
Additionally, on March 24, 2014, Andrew Scott Freeman, 27, of Minneapolis, Minn., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to 36 months imprisonment, after Freeman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substance analogues. According to Court documents, records, and testimony, Freeman worked as a salesman for Lane at Dynamic between April and July of 2012 and sold Dynamic's designer drug products to stores and individuals across the United States.
Prior to Freeman's employment at Dynamic, Freeman owned Too Cool Glass Works in Minnesota, which manufactured glass smoking pipes, and also sold a powerful designer drug called "Bliss" bath salts. In May of 2012, Freeman was captured by Chris Hansen on a Dateline NBC expose on the dangers of "bath salts." Freeman subsequently sold off his business to a chemical supplier in Minnesota before coming to Arizona and continued to work in the "bath salts" industry with Lane.
The operations at Consortium and Dynamic ceased on July 25, 2012, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at those locations and arrested Zizzo, Lane, and Freeman, and other designer drug salesmen and employees as part of Operation Log Jam. Operation Log Jam was a U.S. Department of Justice coordinated investigation of illicit designer or synthetic drug manufacturers and distributors across the United States.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U. S. 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, Monica Edelstein, Theresa Rassas, and Mark Wenker, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.