2 charged with selling synthetic cannabinoids in stores

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A federal grand jury indicted two people on charges of distributing synthetic cannabinoids.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice says Letha Dean, 71, and Abdul G. Alsamah, 48, worked together to sell K2 and spice from The Crossing II and Mystic Enchantments in Springfield. Those businesses operated in the same building (2828 E. Clear Lake Ave.) before Mystic Enchantments moved to 1020 W. Lawrence Ave. in recent years.

Prosecutors say Alsamah ran the distribution part of the business and priced the synthetic cannabinoids before they were sold. They say Alsamah and Dean worked with other people to sell the drugs from November 2014 to at least March 2016.

Alsamah and Dean are the eighth and ninth people to be charged in an ongoing synthetic cannabinoid distribution investigation in central Illinois.

K2 and spice are usually sold in brightly-colored packets with things like “OMG”, “Scooby Snax”, “California Dream” and other names on the labels. Synthetic cannabinoids use different chemicals, including rat poison in some instances, to mimic the effects of THC. 

Four Illinoisans have died from those drugs at this point, including three from central Illinois, according to Illinois health leaders. The drugs are linked to severe bleeding in people. 

Alsamah and Dean face charges of distribution of synthetic cannabinoids and possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids. Prosecutors say each charge can mean a statutory 20-year prison sentence if the suspects are found guilty.

Alsamah, from Merced, Calif., will be in federal court in California on May 3 and could be removed to the Central District of Illinois. Dean is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

NOTE: A mug shot for Abdul Alsamah is difficult to obtain because he is in federal custody in California. WAND-TV already had Letha Dean's picture on record.