Homemade synthetic drug producers walk the line of drug crimes

It seems like synthetic drugs have come out of nowhere. The rise in synthetic drug use and the related efforts by lawmakers to make synthetic drug use illegal has happened so quickly that many members of the public are not sure what substances will put them on the hook for possible drug crimes. Law enforcement officials say that many synthetic drugs are supplied by foreign producers but a portion of the supply of synthetic drugs is created by home producers in the United States.

One 61-year-old man who used to be a carpenter has turned a mobile home into his synthetic drug lab. Before the man became an amateur chemist, the man was a carpenter and also sold cars and homes. He also worked on side-projects developing flex-fuels. His hobby interest in flex-fuels led him to his shortly lived synthetic drug business.

The man learned how to make synthetic drugs from the internet and he sprayed his mix of chemicals on hops and tea. In one half hour he was able to make $2, 400 worth of synthetic drugs. The man estimates there are hundreds of home producers across the country.

Recently, the man’s home state banned synthetic drugs, and the man has taken a temporary hiatus from the synthetic drug business. The recent ban demonstrates the game of cat and mouse that producers of synthetic drugs and federal and state governments are engaged in.

The home producer is under investigation by local authorities and the local county prosecutor, but the man said as soon as synthetic drugs became illegal in his state he took the products off his website, scrubbed down his mobile home and sold chemicals used to make the drugs to buyers from out of state. The encounter with the law has not stopped the man from producing new products he claims are legal.

The man is now producing what he refers to as “health products.” One of the new products is a diet aide that the man says will “invigorate” users for two to four hours. A laboratory test revealed that the diet aide is composed of a mild stimulant used in nasal decongestants.

Source: Star Tribune, “Homemade drug labs fuel dangerous craze,” James Walsh, Oct. 12

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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