December 16, 2014
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1363
Curious Goods LLC Coconspirators Sentenced For Synthetic Marijuana Sales Scheme
LAFAYETTE, La. - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph W. Shepherd and United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Curious Goods LLC and six individuals charged in a synthetic marijuana sales and money laundering scheme operated through the company’s retail stores were sentenced today. United States District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote presided over the hearings.
Curious Goods LLC was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. The company was also ordered to forfeit $859,989 in illegal proceeds derived from the scheme, as well as two cars and a speed boat. Also sentenced today was one of the company’s owners, Richard Buswell of Lafayette. Buswell was sentenced to 103 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Five other co-conspirators were also sentenced today as follows: Drew Green, 117 months prison, three years supervised release, and $20,000 fine; Tommy Malone, 117 months prison, three years supervised release, and $20,000 fine; Boyd Barrow, 70 months prison and three years supervised release; Josh Espinoza, 61 months prison and three years supervised release; and Daniel Francis, 42 months prison and one year supervised release.
In September of 2012, Curious Goods LLC and co-conspirators: Alexander Derrick Reece, 42 of Gainesville, Fla.; Drew T. Green, 40 of Roswell, Ga.; Thomas William Malone, Jr., 48 of Roswell, Ga.; Boyd Anthony Barrow, 46 of Canton, Ga.; Joshua Espinoza, 51 of Marietta, Ga.; Richard Joseph Buswell, 46 of Lafayette, La.; Daniel Paul Francis, 44 of Dawsonville, Ga.; and Daniel James Stanford, 57, of Lafayette, La., were charged by a grand jury in a 16-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute synthetic (Count 1), conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate (Count 2), conspiracy to commit money laundering, and various money laundering (Counts 3 to 16).
At the time of the indictment, Curious Goods LLC was a business based in Lafayette that marketed smoking and other products in stores throughout Acadiana. Curious Goods stores sold a product called “Mr. Miyagi” that was infused with synthetic cannabinoids. Although mislabeled as a potpourri, “Mr. Miyagi” was sold to be smoked for the sole purpose of getting the consumer of the product “high.” The synthetic cannabinoids infused into “Mr. Miyagi” are considered Schedule I controlled dangerous substances under federal law. From March 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, Curious Goods stores made approximately $5 million from the sale of the illegal “Mr. Miyagi” product.
Barrow and Espinoza controlled and operated Pinnacle Products LLC/Pinnacle Products Group, based in Marietta, Ga. Pinnacle was the manufacturer of the “Mr. Miyagi” products and supplied the products to the local Curious Goods stores. Pinnacle obtained the synthetic cannabinoids used to manufacture “Mr. Miyagi” from NutraGenomics, which was located in an Alpharetta, Ga., and was controlled by co-conspirators Green and Malone. NutraGenomics distributed synthetic cannabinoids throughout the United States.
“This case is a huge victory for the people of Acadiana,” U.S. Attorney Finley stated. “The defendants in this case intentionally sold a dangerous drug that was shamelessly marketed to young people. Too many members of our community were lured into the Curious Goods stores that sold this poison. This case highlights how lucrative this industry is and reveals the lengths that criminals are willing to go to profit while endangering the health and safety of citizens. Dedicated men and women of federal, state and local law enforcement fought to bring these defendants to justice. They are to be commended for years of hard work to get these illegal substances off the streets and hold these criminals accountable. I hope that store owners, franchisees, investors and distributers who want a make a fast buck at the expense of others think twice and understand that we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute their criminal activity.”
The remaining defendant, Lafayette lawyer Daniel Stanford, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15, 2014. Stanford was convicted after an eight-day jury trial on August 29, 2014. Read more at: www.justice.gov/usao/law/news/wdla20140829.
The DEA, FBI, IRS, HSI, Louisiana State Police, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Vermillion Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Lafayette Police Department conducted this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker, J. Collin Sims, and Robert C. Abendroth prosecuted the case.