The former owner and an employee of a west suburban smoke shop sold synthetic cannabis illegally to a 19-year-old man, who died in a car crash after suffering an adverse reaction to the illegal product, a federal criminal complaint charges.Ruby Mohsin, 52, of Glen Ellyn, and Mohammad Khan, 63, of Glendale Heights were charged Thursday with conspiring to distribute substances containing synthetic controlled substance at the Cigar Box, Mohsin’s former store in the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.According to the affidavit, from March 1, 2011, through Aug. 12, 2011, Mohsin “purchased hundreds of packages of synthetic drugs such as iAroma and Zero Gravity, containing controlled substance analogues from an Iowa-based manufacturer and distributor.”On June 14, 2011, Mohsin allegedly sold three one-gram packages of “iAroma Hypnotic,” “iAroma Train Wreck,” and “iAroma Mango” for $20 to 19-year old Max Dobner and a friend. “Dobner smoked a portion of the package of iAroma Hypnotic, suffered a severe adverse reaction, and died when he crashed his car into a house in North Aurora,” the criminal complaint states.
An FDA laboratory determined the packages sold to Dobner contained the controlled substance analogue JWH-210; and a toxicological test revealed the presence of JWH-210 in Dobner’s blood at the time of his death, but no other drugs or alcohol, federal prosecutors said.
After Dobner’s death, Mohsin and Khan continued to sell the synthetic drugs at the Cigar Box until, on Aug. 4, 2011, Khan sold two packages of “Head Trip” and “Kush Potpourri” for $30 to an undercover Aurora police officer, prosecutors said.Both men will appear in U.S. District Court in Chicago at a later date. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $1 million.Synthetic cannabinoids (or synthetic marijuana) are substances with “chemical structures similar to tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis that mimic the effects of THC by acting on the same receptors in the central nervous system,” the affidavit states. They are usually manufactured in China and shipped to the United States in powder form.The powder is mixed with acetone and “sprayed on plant material such as marshmallow leaf and packaged for sale. These new drugs (or analogues) are not listed in the Controlled Substance Act, but still have the same dangerous effects,” prosecutors said.