August 25, 2016
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Operator Of Store In Epsom Pleads Guilty To Misbranding Charge
AUG 25 - CONCORD, N.H. - Brett Scott, 24, pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to a federal charge related to the sales of misbranded drugs, announced Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division and United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice.
According to court documents and statements at the plea hearing, Scott operated “Smoke N Discount,” a retail store in Epsom, New Hampshire. A law enforcement investigation showed that the store was selling synthetic cannabinoid products with names like “Colorado Kush” and “Peak Ultra.” The investigation found that the products being sold at the store contained analogues of controlled substances.
The labels of the synthetic cannabinoid products sold at the store were misleading in multiple ways. The packaging misleadingly indicated that the products were not for human consumption, when in fact, the products were intended for human consumption and ingested by consumers. The packaging made misleading representations suggesting that the product was not unlawful by representing what the package did not contain, but did not identify the actual ingredients that were contained in the packages. The labels did not contain information bearing the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. The labels also did not contain adequate directions for use or adequate warnings for use. As part of his plea agreement, Scott agreed to forfeit $30,000 to the United States. United States Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone scheduled sentencing for December 12, 2016.
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.
This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad, with assistance from the New Hampshire State Police and the Epsom and Concord Police Departments.