8 mid-Missouri co-defendants plead guilty in million-dollar K2 conspiracy

11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago Thursday, May 04 2017 May 4, 2017 Thursday, May 04, 2017 4:00:00 PM CDT May 04, 2017 in News
By: Jacob Cavaiani, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - A California woman pleaded guilty to her role in a conspiracy to distribute more than $6.6 million of synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, at Callaway County businesses. Eight co-defendants from mid-Missouri also pleaded guilty in the case.

Sheila Marie Nawaz, 40, of Roseville, California, pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud from Dec. 18, 2012, to July 16, 2015, according to a news release from prosecutors.

Nawaz was the president of eComm Organix, Inc., a California distributor of "novelty products," according to the release. The company purchased synthetic cannabinoids from other businesses and distributed them to customers through the U.S. via mail.

By pleading guilty, Nawaz agreed that she accumulated approximately $806,260 in gross proceeds attributable to this action. She obtained approximately 179,169 grams of synthetic cannabinoids for distribution at approximately $4.50 per gram, according to the release.

The company mailed approximately 2,359 retail packages of synthetic cannabinoids to customers in Missouri. The labels misidentified the contents to be "not for human consumption" when the products were indeed intended for human consumption as a drug, the release said.

Shawn Michael Browning, 26, Timothy Christopher Sandfort, 31, Joshua Adam Sheets, 31, and Brandon Derek Rader, 32, all of Fulton, also pleaded guilty to participating in the mail fraud conspiracy as well as a money-laundering conspiracy, both of which were related to the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids, the release said.

Dara Leanne Shirley, 31, of Fulton, pleaded guilty to participating in the money-laundering conspiracy. Casey Dewayne Miller, 32, of Columbia, and Billie L. Bruce, 36, of Jefferson City, each pleaded guilty to distributing synthetic cannabinoids, the release said. 

According to court documents, the drug-trafficking conspiracy generated over $6.6 million in gross proceeds, according to the release.

Sandfort, Rader, Shirley, Miller and others operated First Stop Last Stop Pawn & Aromatherapy, Inscentives Resale and Inscentives Auto. First Stop Last Stop Pawn & Aromatherapy represented itself as a "pawn shop" and "potpourri store." Browning, Sheets, Bruce and others operated Esscentials Resale and S&J Tobacco, according to the release.

The businesses purchased synthetic cannaboids from co-conspirators in California and Nevada. At least 251 shipments of the drugs were made via FedEx and UPS, according to the release. Inscentives Resale sold the drugs from locations in Auxvasse and Fulton. Esscentials Resale and S&J Tobacco sold the drugs from locations in Holts Summit, the release said.

Nawaz faces up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. 

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