AP: Three Kansans accused in synthetic marijuana ring
TOPEKA (AP) — Three Kansas men made millions of dollars concocting and selling synthetic marijuana at businesses in Lawrence and Oskaloosa and around the world, federal prosecutors have said.
Bradley Miller, 55, of Wichita; his brother, Clark Sloan, 54, of Tonganoxie; and Sloan's son, Jonathan Sloan, 32, of Lawrence, are charged with conspiracy, distribution of misbranded drugs and mail fraud in the indictment filed Wednesday afternoon, The Kansas City Star reported.
Prosecutors allege the three manufactured and distributed K2 as an "all-natural" product that was to be used as incense and not for human consumption, but instead it contained synthetic chemicals that mimic the effect of marijuana. The product also contained solvents and other additives, prosecutors said.
None of the men were in custody Thursday, Jim Cross, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, said.
Tom Bath, Jonathan Sloan's attorney, said he had not read the indictment but that his client would be pleading not guilty. Hearings for Jonathan Sloan and Miller are scheduled for April 11, but nothing has been set for Clark Sloan.
An attorney for Miller did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Cross said it wasn't clear if Clark Sloan had obtained counsel.
The men were co-owners of two Lawrence businesses, Persephone's Journey and Bouncing Bear Botanicals, which sold exotic herbal products. Persephone's Journey later changed its name to The Sacred Journey, while Bouncing Bear, which had operated out of Persephone's basement, expanded to a warehouse in Oskaloosa, prosecutors said. The product initially was sold locally before the men created a worldwide network that distributed K2 to wholesalers and retailers in and outside the United States, including South America, Asia and Eastern Europe, prosecutors said. The men made $3.3 million from K2 sales, sometime at a rate of $150,000 a week, prosecutors said.
The scheme began in 2009 and also involved "Que She," a misbranded drug from China that contains at least one substance whose approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was pulled.
for safety concerns, according to the indictment.
Miller is accused of developing recipes for and manufacturing the K2, which he produced at the rate of 5 to 10 kilograms per night. Prosecutors said he had to work at night because of the solvents' odor.
Clark Sloan developed and monitored the Bouncing Bear Botanicals' website and worked in marketing, prosecutors said, while Jonathan Sloan was responsible for daily business operations and finances.
Miller and Jonathan Sloan claim to own the trademark K2, named after the world's second-tallest mountain, according to the indictment.
K2 is illegal in both Kansas and Missouri.