July 17, 2015
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: 617-557-2100
Derry Man Indicted On Charges Related To Sales Of Synthetic Cannabinoids
CONCORD, N.H. - Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith announced that a federal Grand Jury has returned a five-count indictment against Tony Aoude, 44, of Derry, New Hampshire that charges him with various offenses related to the sales of synthetic cannabinoid products.
The indictment charges Aoude with Distributing a Controlled (AB-FUBINACA), Conspiracy to Violate the Travel Act, and Conspiracy to Receive Misbranded Products, as well as separate violations of the federal Travel Act and the federal misbranding statute.
According to the indictment, in 2013 and 2014 Aoude sold synthetic cannabinoid products at stores in Londonderry and Hooksett, New Hampshire. The indictment alleges that the products contained XLR11 and AB-FUBINACA, which are illegal controlled substances. The indictment alleges that these products were sold in packages with false and misleading labels that stated that the products were “not for human consumption” or were “legal in 50 states.” Additionally, the indictment alleges that Aoude was advised by a co-conspirator that the products were unlawful in Florida. According to the indictment, Aoude and a co-conspirator arranged to sell quantities of synthetic cannabinoids to individuals who planned to sell the products in Florida.
Synthetic cannabinoids are green leafy materials that have been sprayed with chemicals. These (commonly referred to as “spice” or “K2”) are often marketed as incense or potpourri. As in this case, the packaging materials often contain attractive logos that are designed to appeal to young people. Although the products are often identified as “not for human consumption,” the products are smoked in order to obtain a high. The chemicals that are sprayed on the products to produce the high are often illegal controlled substances or analogues of illegal controlled substances. The ingestion of these types of illegal products has caused some users to experience a variety of medical side effects and has led to numerous hospitalizations.
An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled. The charge of distributing controlled substances is subject to a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine. The misbranding charge is subject to a maximum penalty of three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The remaining three charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case was supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF). The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad led the investigation in collaboration with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations. The investigators also received the invaluable assistance of DEA-NH/HIDTA and DEA’s Air Wing, the New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, Portsmouth Police Department, Somersworth Police Department, Kingston Police Department, the Dover Police Department, the Londonderry Police Department, and the York and Kittery, Maine Police Departments. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John J. Farley.