11 people sentenced in 'Operation Bad Dreamer'
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The last member of an 11-person ring of synthetic-drug traffickers busted over the last two years by state investigators was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison, followed by 12 months of probation.
According to investigators, members of the ring were manufacturing and selling synthetic marijuana and bath salts in convenience stores and storage areas in Flagler and St. Johns counties.
Investigators worked with two informants who were able to carefully describe and pinpoint where the illegal activity went down and identified Mark Dickinson as organizer who ran the statewide ring.
According to the Attorney General Pam Bondi, six of the members of the ring were prosecuted by her office for selling what she called "poison to minors." All 11 members were sentenced to prison or probation for various counts that range from manufacturing and sale of synthetic drugs, delivery of paraphernalia, money laundering and evasion of tax on tobacco products.
According to the affidavit, several units at a self-storage business in St. Augustine used to store and distribute the controlled substances, and homes on Windjammer Lane and Spring Ridge Court were headquarters for the manufacture, storage and distribution of the illegal drugs.
According to the lead investigator, members of the ring sold such drugs as herbal incense and plant food to minors, and that's how they stayed ahead of FDA regulations that ban the use of the chemical products they were using.
According to the DEA, products like smokeable herbal incense are becoming increasingly popular and easily obtained by young people, which is why Bondi released the following statement after the successful prosecution
"We will not allow anyone in our state to get away with peddling deadly synthetic drugs to our youth, who are often attracted by the colorful packaging of these drugs and may not fully understand the health hazards these chemical compounds pose," Bondi wrote.
Records show none of the people involved had a distributors license to sell or deal in tobacco products in Florida.
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