Drug Enforcement Administration


Brian M. McKnight, Special Agent in Charge

November 09, 2015

Contact: Cori Rizman

Phone Number: (312) 353-7875

Two Ashland Residents Sentenced To Federal Prison For Distributing Controlled Substance Analogues And Filing False Tax Returns

John Morrison & Anna Novak owned and operated JC Moon store in Ashland

MADISON, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that John C. Morrison, 70, and Anna F. Novak, 57, both of Ashland, Wis., were sentenced Friday evening on federal drug and tax charges following a five-hour sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson.  Morrison and Novak were the owners of the JC Moon store in Ashland, and they previously pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substance (“synthetic drugs”) at the store and filing false tax returns.

Judge Peterson sentenced Morrison to four years in federal prison on the drug charge, and three years in prison on the tax charge, with the sentences running concurrently.  Judge Peterson sentenced Novak to eight years in federal prison on the drug charge, and three years in prison on the tax charge, with the sentences running concurrently.  Each defendant was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $186,000 in taxes they evaded. 

The government established that Morrison and Novak distributed, conservatively, over 25 kilograms of synthetic drugs from late 2009 through the fall of 2013 at the JC Moon store on Main Street in Ashland.  The sales of the illegal drugs generated over $2 million in receipts and the defendants skimmed approximately $576,000 -- 27% of the receipts -- leading to the evasion of $186,000 in federal taxes.

U.S. Attorney Vaudreuil stated, “The defendants made millions of dollars by distributing synthetic drugs from the JC Moon store, and they showed complete disregard for the health of their customers and the safety of their community.  Their actions hurt hundreds of people.  Their business was based on dishonesty and motivated by relentless greed.  They relied on creating horrible addictions to maximize their profits.  This sentence should make it clear that synthetic drugs are, and always have been, illegal and extremely dangerous.”

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, witnesses who used and became addicted to synthetic drugs purchased from Morrison and Novak at the JC Moon store testified that they experienced paranoia, anxiety, rapid heartbeats, shortness of breath, seizures, and suicidal thoughts.

In sentencing the defendants, Judge Peterson stated that their long period of criminal activity warranted the lengthy sentences.  He stated their conduct was appalling and they ignored the devastating effects on the community simply to make more money.  He concluded by stating that he intended to send a message by this lengthy sentence that synthetic drugs are dangerous and highly illegal. 

Friday’s sentencing is a result of a lengthy, joint investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration; IRS Criminal Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Ashland County District Attorney; Ashland County Sheriff’s Department; and Ashland Police Department.  The prosecution of this case was handled by United States Attorney John Vaudreuil and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Reinhard.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.
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