Two Bronx men charged for large-scale distribution of synthetic cannabinoids through multiple websites

A long-term wiretap investigation uncovered a sophisticated network of alleged narcotics traffickers who distributed fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in New York City, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania during COVID-19.
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Two Bronx men, who allegedly shipped drugs to all 50 states and made more than $1 million, face up to 20 years in prison.

On Thursday, they were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and to distribute controlled substances using the internet.

“Whether synthetic cannabinoids are trafficked on the street or through the internet, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will work to stop the source of these dangerous substances and hold accountable those responsible for the sales,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. “I thank and commend the detectives of the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau, members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service whose dedication resulted in these charges and ended this national trafficking operation.”

According to the investigation, from February 2019 until May, Noel Sanabria, 57, and Patrick Patterson, 32, along with two men from Queens, operated a scheme to distribute massive quantities of smokeable synthetic cannabinoids (“SSC”), commonly referred to as “K2” or “Spice,” containing controlled substances and/or a controlled substance analogue, throughout the United States.

They allegedly sold SSC through at least four different websites, namely K2HerbStore.com, HerbalPlug.com, LegalAromaTherapy.com, and LegalHerbalSmack.com. The SSC distributed was branded with colorful graphics and distinctive names, including “Train Wrecked,” “Scooby Snax Kush,” “Bizarro,” “AK 47,” “Hi5 Triple X,” “Evil Santa,” “Krazy Turkey,” “Sexy Monkey,” “W.T.F.” and “COVID-19 Coronavirus Limited Edition.”

In an effort to conceal their criminal activity and advertise their illegal products, the men used names for the websites that falsely represented that their SSC products were “legal.” The defendants also sometimes misleadingly described their SSC products publicly as “not for human consumption,” “potpourri,” “herbal incense” and “legal aroma therapy,” when, in fact, they intended that the SSC would be consumed by drug users and knew that their conduct was unlawful.

 

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