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Iowa man allegedly made fake pot that led to Aurora teen’s death

Max Dobner, 19, was killed when his car veered off a road and crashed into a North Aurora house on June 4, 2011. Authorities say he was suffering an adverse reaction to synthetic marijuana. | Court records

An Iowa man was recently indicted on federal charges of supplying synthetic marijuana to an Aurora tobacco shop, whose owner was charged last year with selling the drugs to a teenager who died in a car crash.

Kevin Seydel of Bettendorf, Iowa, ran a company called “Spaced Out Herbz,” which illegally sold drugs that weren’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to an indictment filed last week in federal court in Chicago.

He allegedly sold products falsely labeled as “potpourri” and “herbal incense” over the Internet. The packaging said not for human consumption even though Seydel intended for people to use them as drugs, according to the indictment.

Seydel bought chemicals from China and made synthetic marijuana that he sold to customers in Louisiana, North Carolina and the now-defunct Cigar Shop in Aurora, which bought hundreds of packages of Zero Gravity, Train Wreck and iAroma, the indictment said.

In June 2011, the Cigar Shop sold $20 of the synthetic marijuana to 19-year-old Max Dobner, who died after he crashed a car into a house in North Aurora when he suffered an adverse reaction to the chemicals, federal authorities say.

Last year, Cigar Shop owner Ruby Mohsin, 52, of Glen Ellyn, and an employee, Mohammad Khan, 63, of Glendale Heights, were charged in federal court with conspiring to distribute synthetic drugs. They’re free on bond awaiting trial.

In last week’s indictment, Suliman Tanus, 43, of North Carolina was charged with conspiring with Seydel to distribute synthetic marijuana. Seydel gave the formula for the drugs to Tanus and referred his customers to him, the indictment said.

Synthetic marijuana mimics the effects of THC, the active ingredient in pot. It’s usually shipped from China to the United States in powder form. Here, it’s mixed with acetone and sprayed onto plants and packaged for sale, according to prosecutors. Dobner’s death helped lead to a state law that took effect in 2012 making it a felony to sell or possess fake pot.