LAS VEGAS – Two Nevada residents and a Houston man convicted of participating in a Las Vegas-based ring that manufactured and distributed the synthetic drugs known as spice and bath salts were sentenced in federal court Monday, following a multi-agency probe that included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Joshua Michael Riley, 32, of Henderson, received a 51-month prison term followed by three years’ supervised release; Nicholas Collado, 32, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years’ supervised release; and Alexandra Haardt, 28, also of Henderson, was sentenced to three years’ probation with a condition of one year of home confinement. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey.
In addition, Judge Dorsey entered final orders requiring the defendants to forfeit to the government approximately $802,000 in bank accounts; $371,000 in gold and silver bars and coins; $32,000 in money orders and checks; $14,700 in jewelry; a Cadillac; a Henderson condominium; and two handguns and ammunition.
Two other defendants were also charged in the conspiracy. Marco Alvarado pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Nov. 12 to 30 months in prison, and Jacob Fisher pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 19.
“Spice and bath salts are potent and dangerous substances that are being sold to an unwary public in convenience stores, head shops, gas stations and online,” said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden. “These synthetic drugs are powerful substances that when consumed have caused hallucinations and dangerous levels of overdose. We will continue working diligently with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to prosecute persons who callously and recklessly distribute them.”
According to the court records, Riley owned and operated JMR Enterprises in Las Vegas. The defendants ordered chemicals from China and manufactured the controlled substance analogues at Riley’s residence in Las Vegas. The defendants sold the spice and bath salts online using a website - thesupplyboys.com - under the brand names “Mad Pineapple,” “Tiger Blood,” “Mad Max” and “New Ivory Wave.” The orders were shipped out via an overnight delivery service to buyers as far away as the East Coast.
In July 2012, investigators executed a federal search warrant at Riley’s home and recovered approximately 26 pounds of spice and three pounds of bath salts, along with packaging materials, baking pans and two firearms. Special agents also recovered approximately three additional pounds of bath salts and 47 packages of spice from the mail during the investigation.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, synthetic drugs are a rapidly emerging threat. The effects of these substances are unpredictable due to the variety of chemicals used in the manufacturing process, which is devoid of any quality control and government oversight.
The Administration has been working with federal, congressional, state, local and non-governmental partners to put policies and legislation in place to combat this threat, and to educate people about the significant risks posed by these substances. For more information on the risks and dangers of synthetic drugs, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller. In addition to HSI, the case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with further assistance provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration.