Curious Goods Lawyer Found Guilty In Synthetic Marijuana Scheme
A Lafayette attorney has been found guilty for his role in distributing synthetic marijuana throughout Acadiana.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, Daniel James Stanford — the 56-year-old former lawyer for the Curious Goods franchise — was misleading his co-conspirators and consumers to believe they wouldn't be prosecuted for selling or buying "Mr. Miyagi," a product marketed as herbal potpourri that contained synthetic cannabinoids.
"This case highlights how lucrative this industry is and reveals the length that criminals are willing to go to profit while endangering the health and safety of citizens," Finley writes in a press release Friday night.
Synthetic marijuana is made of herbs sprayed with chemicals created to mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive substance within marijuana. Because marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal government, the synthetic chemicals are developed and redeveloped, reaching wide distribution before legislators have a chance to ban them.
"Too many members of our community have visited these shops that sold this poison, especially the youth," Finley writes.
Too many members of our community have visited these shops that sold this poison, especially the youth.
Local law enforcement has been cracking down on stores selling the substance since various versions of the drug started becoming illegal in 2011.
According to Finley, witnesses during the trial revealed the stores brought in $5 million from March-December 2011 for selling the product. Local law enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized 190 pounds of the substance from Curious Good stores in a Dec. 8, 2011, raid.
Eight others from Georgia, Florida and Acadiana were charged with Stanford in September 2012 for their roles in the conspiracy. Seven of those men pleaded guilty in federal court prior to Stanford's trial and served as witnesses against him. The eighth man committed suicide.
Stanford — who represented himself — was found guilty of one count each of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, along with five counts of money laundering and one conspiracy count for money laundering.
He faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $2 million in fines for his role in the drug conspiracy, and for misbranding the product, he faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. The money-laundering conspiracy and each money-laundering count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
A sentencing date hasn't been set, but his co-conspirators face sentencing Sept. 19.