Virginia man pleads guilty in case of candies laced with designer drug
In September of 2015, WHSV
that an overdose in Winchester had been linked to "Smarties candies laced with a synthetic compound similar to LSD.
Now, on February 3, 2017, a Virginia man pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, namely, "with the intent to defraud and mislead, to ship and receive in interstate commerce a misbranded drug," according to the United State's Attorney Office.
Christopher Michael Sweeney II, 20, of Cross Junction, purchased and received Smarties laced with flubromazolam, a designer synthetic drug not approved by the United States FDA, between June and September of 2015, say attorneys.
According to evidence presented by Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa, he bought the drug through the "dark web" and it arrived on Smarties candies, in packages that did not contain packing or labels showing the name or place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. The packages contained no warning of the drug inside or any designation that would show it as more than just candy.
“This case clearly demonstrates the dangers of purchasing illicit drugs off of the internet. Purchasers do not know the true contents of what they are purchasing to ingest and thereby are placing their safety and their lives in the hands of an unscrupulous manufacturer,” said Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Field Division.
Sweeney bought the drug-laced candies in quantities of 100-300 tablets per purchase, at a price of approximately $0.38 per tablet. The defendant paid his co-conspirators using digital currency transfers through electronic media and had the Smarties mailed to him either at his home address or to a post office
box, according to what the United States planned to present at trial.
He ate, gave away, or sold the Smarties for between $5 and $8 per tablet, calling them Smarties and telling some customers they contained "Xanax."
Attorneys say during the time he was selling the candies, he acknowledged the powerful effects of the drug, noting to some customers that some people had blacked out from the drug and even crashed their cars due to driving while under the influence of it, but he never made it clear that the candies contained flubromazolam.
“This case underscores how extremely dangerous it is to take drugs, no matter how innocent they are made to appear, that are not clearly labeled with information such as the content, ingredients, and source. This dangerous synthetic drug was ruthlessly packaged to look like candy, sold by the defendant as
Xanax and caused tragic harm to unsuspecting customers,” Acting United States Attorney Mountcastle said today. “I implore anyone who might be thinking about experimenting with drugs like this to stop and consider that you are putting your life and your health at risk. I am grateful for the Northwest Virginia
Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Virginia State Police, the DEA, and AUSA Kulpa’s hard work and dedication in resolving this very difficult case and for their continued efforts against the drug epidemic in the Western District of Virginia.”
The investigation of the case was conducted by Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Virginia State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa prosecuted the case for the United States.