JEFFERSON CITY - The owner and operators of Bocomo Bay, a Columbia smoke shop, were charged by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to distribute more than $2 million of synthetic marijuana, commonly called "K2", in an indictment unsealed Thursday.
44-year-old Kevin E. Bay and 61-year-old John Hawkins, both residents of Columbia, were charged in a 21-count indictment on Oct. 2.
The indictment was made public today after the two men's initial court appearances this morning. The two surrendered to police prior to the hearing and were later released on bond.
Bay is the owner of Bocomo Bay, and he and Hawkins run the business together. The two are charged together for conspiring to commit crimes, and each face separate individual charges as well.
Among the allegations in the federal indictment are charges that the two conspired to distribute a controlled substance analogue (K2) and laundered money between March 1, 2011 and Oct. 2, 2013. They are also charged with conspiring to distribute drug paraphernalia from Nov. 1, 2008 to Oct. 2, 2013.
They are both also charged together in four more counts of distributing a controlled substance analogue, one count of possessing a controlled substance analogue with intent to distribute, and five counts of distributing drug paraphernalia.
Bay is also charged with seven counts of money laundring, and with conducting financial transactions that involved illegal drug-trafficking proceeds.
Hawkins, a previously convicted felon, faces one count of illegally possessing a firearm, after he was found with a 9mm pistol and a .22-caliber revolver in August 2011.
Perhaps the most striking part of the indictment lay in its forfeiture allegations, which would require Bay and Hawkins to re-pay the government more than $2 million, allegedly obtained from the drug trafficking and paraphernalia conspiracies.
Officers also seized more than $600,000 cash, four ounces of platinum, five ounces of palladium, 15.25 ounces of gold, up to 100 ounces of silver, 76 firearms and various ammunition from Bocomo Bay and the residence the two shared.
Among the firearms was an Uzi submachine gun and various handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
K2 and other synthetic drugs were banned in Missouri in 2011. The law took effect on August 29 of that year.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Connelly. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.