Newport Beach Man Who Led Drug Ring That Moved More Than $12M Worth of Synthetic Marijuana Pleads Guilty

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A Newport Beach man said to be the leader of a drug ring that distributed more than $12 million worth of dangerous synthetic drugs, commonly referred to as “spice or “bath salts,” pleaded guilty to drug, weapons and money laundering charges Monday afternoon, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Sean Libbert, 41, was the head of a ring that imported and manufactured chemicals used to create synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs that are meant to mimic the effects of weed, but have been known to cause seizures and hallucinations, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Spice, also known as “K2,” is actually the result of spraying psychoactive substances on a non-marijuana plant. The drug was linked to a rash of overdoses earlier this year along skid row in downtown Los Angeles, where spice joints are sold for as cheap as $1 to the area’s sprawling homeless population.

Libbert’s group smuggled in the chemicals used to make the drugs from China, then sold their own brand of synthetic marijuana, dubbed “Da Kine Blend,” over the internet, according to court documents.

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