In San Antonio, 54-year-old Muhammad Jaffer Ali was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his leadership role in a synthetic marijuana distribution scheme announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division.
Senior United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth handed down the prison term during a hearing late yesterday afternoon. On June 27, 2013, federal authorities arrested Jaffer without incident. He has remained in federal custody since.
On December 12, 2016, Jaffer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues. By pleading guilty, Jaffer admitted that from March 2013 to June 2013, he and others comprised the San Antonio-based Jaffer Drug Trafficking Organization (Jaffer DTO) that was responsible for the production and distribution of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas as well as Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City. During the course of the enterprise, the Jaffer DTO manufactured, caused to be manufactured, attempted to manufacture, distributed and possessed with intent to distribute over 40,000 pounds (or 18,500 kilograms) of synthetic cannabinoids.
“The drugs the defendant was peddling are much more dangerous than the name ‘synthetic marijuana’ suggests,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. “These drugs are highly addictive and can cause death, seizures, organ failure, coma, and hallucinations. They are packaged with clever names like ‘Kush’ and ‘Scooby Snax,’ to make them attractive to kids and to appear harmless to unknowing parents. When their use is not deadly, it can be devastating, causing lasting damage to young brains. The defendant’s conduct was serious and has been punished accordingly.”
This prosecution resulted from the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration together with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, San Antonio Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Live Oak Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Roomberg and Jay Hulings are prosecuting this case.