BOSTON — Daniel Borer of Adams is accused of importing synthetic drugs from China through the U.S. Postal Service and using them to manufacture "massive wholesale quantities of smokeable synthetic cannabinoids" for sale throughout the United States.
Borer, 42, and his alleged accomplice, postal worker Josephine McLaughlin, 65, of Stoneham, were arrested Thursday by law enforcement officials and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey in Boston. Their cases were transferred to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Southern District of New York.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York said Jonathan Riendeau, 38, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., who operated several websites on which he sold the drugs, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.
The government charges that Borer and McLaughlin operated the import scheme from at least February 2014 until this month. SSC, which can be addictive, are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana. In fact, SSC are not safe, according to government officials, and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening.
The synthetics, colloquially referred to as K2 or Spice, were sent through the mail to locations throughout the Unitd States. Some of the SSC distributed by the scheme were branded with colorful graphics and distinctive names, including "Dead Man Walking," "Klimax," "Zero Gravity," "Twilite," "Psycho," and "Get Real." The branded SSC were sometimes marked "not for human consumption," or "potpourri." Other of the SSC were distributed in bulk quantities.
"Trafficking of synthetic cannabinoids – sometimes called K2 or Spice – poses a serious threat to public health and safety. Packaged attractively to appeal to teenagers and young adults, synthetic cannabinoids are in reality a toxic cocktail that can be very dangerous to consume," Berman said in a press release. "As alleged, Daniel Borer and Josephine McLaughlin imported massive quantities of synthetic cannabinoids and distributed them in smokeable form to retail dealers throughout the United States. Thanks to our law enforcement partners, Borer and McLaughlin have been arrested and their dangerous business has been dismantled."
Borer and McLaughlin are each charged with three counts of conspiring unlawfully to import and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues. Each count can carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Riendeau pled guilty on Jan. 31 to six counts: three counts of conspiracy unlawfully to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues; two counts of unlawful importation of controlled substances and controlled substance analogues; and one count of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the New York Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and with the aide of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force and state police assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert B. Sobelman is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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