PORTLAND — A Vancouver man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland to conspiring with at least two other people to import, manufacture and distribute synthetic drugs.
Ryan Ahidjou "Bo" Scott, 33, is expected to face eight years in prison and has been ordered to forfeit more than $5 million to the federal government, The Oregonian reported.
Court documents say Scott and his partners imported raw and unregulated chemicals from Peru and China to manufacture and distribute designer drugs marketed under names such as "K2," ''Orisha" and "Vesuvius."
Scott is accused of selling the synthetic drugs out of a warehouse in Vancouver to gas stations, convenience stores and head shops around the country. Sales from KTW Enterprises Ltd. topped $5 million between 2009 and 2012, according to court documents.
They labeled their products as "incense" or "summoning powder" and put disclaimers on packaging that said "Not for Human Consumption."
But prosecutors say the products were sold to be ingested or inhaled to produce a high similar to street drugs.
Synthetic or "designer" drugs have become increasingly popular with teens and young adults, but have not been approved for human consumption or medical use and can be more potent than natural marijuana. The U.S. Department of Justice says the synthetic drugs are being abused and have led to increasing in overdoses, emergency room visits, organ damage and overdose deaths.
On Tuesday, Scott pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He conspired to transfer over $3 million in domestic drug sales through international wire transfers involving Canada, the United Kingdom and the Cook Islands, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah K. Bolstad wrote in court papers.
Federal agents searched Scott's warehouse in May 2012 and discovered a "large-scale synthetic drug manufacturing operation," with hundreds of pounds of dried plant material, kilograms of uncut chemical cannabinoids in powder form and other products that were confirmed as comparable to controlled substances.
Prosecutors alleged that after Scott's arrest he continued to illegally import, market and sell new synthetic drugs. He made another $240,000 while convincing the federal court that he was eligible for a court-appointed public defender, prosecutors said.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 22 before U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty.
Co-defendant Alexandre Valentinov Dimov, 35, entered guilty pleas last week to the same charges. He's scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 3.