HOUSTON, Texas — A man from Katy, Texas–a suburb of Houston–was recently sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for selling synthetic drugs to customers in almost every U.S. state. Two teenagers in North Dakota ultimately died after ingesting the distributed drugs.
29-year-old Charles Carlton of Katy is one of 15 defendants in the case, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Carlton supposedly sold hallucinogen chemicals to Andrew Spofford from Grand Forks, North Dakota. Spofford cooked the drugs using the obtained chemicals, and then sold them to two teens: 18-year-old Christian Bjerk from Grand Forks, North Dakota and 17-year-old Elijah Stai of Park Rapids, Minnesota.
Bjerk and Stai both died within a week of each other after ingesting the drugs, the AP reported. Three other teens reportedly took the drugs as well, and were admitted to a nearby hospital as a result.
Spofford will spend 17 years in prison for his role in the incident.
Carlton, who ultimately plead guilty to three counts–money laundering, distributing illegal drugs, delivering a misbranded drug–formerly co-owned a company in Houston called Motion Resources LLC. According to the AP, the company made hundreds of thousands of dollars by ordering chemicals from Asia and Europe and then re-selling them for human consumption.
Federal prosecutor Chris Myers, who initially requested that Carlton spend 25 years in prison, reportedly said of the sentencing, “The response by state, local and federal law enforcement in the case was unbelievable. From the time these kids were found deceased until search warrants were executed in Texas was approximately two months. They dismantled an international drug trafficking organization and undoubtedly saved lives.”
In addition to spending 20 years and six months in prison, Carlton will reportedly appear in a documentary about synthetic drugs. His lawyer, Alexander Reichert, said, “He is desperate to make amends for what he has done.”
Synthetic drugs have becoming an increasing problem in the United States.
Earlier this year, 45 people in Texas were admitted to local hospitals for overdosing on a synthetic marijuana product known as K2.
A spokesman from the Austin Police Department told Breitbart Texas that the incident marked “the first time we’ve seen synthetic marijuana overdoses in ‘mass’ quantities like this. We need to figure out where this stuff is coming from.”
K2 has historically been known to make users violent and cause seizures. In early April, Breitbart Texas reported on an effort by officials in Lubbock to expand a ban on synthetic marijuana.It is unclear, however, how the ban would be effectively enforced.
Follow Kristin Tate @KristinBTate.