Columbia man pleaded guilty to mail fraud
JEFFERSON CITY – A Columbia man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to his role in the distribution of synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K2.
Matthew Hawkins, 41, pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud between March 1, 2011, and Oct. 2, 2013.
Hawkins was a partner in two companies, Dynamic Scents and its successor, Order-Refill, LLC. Three of his partners in those companies – Alexander Vladimir McMillin, also known as “Shasha,” 32, Patrick Ross Hawkins, 34, and Molly Jane Charmichael, 38, all of Columbia – have also pleaded guilty to the mail fraud conspiracy. They are among 15 defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.
By pleading guilty, Hawkins admitted that he sold wholesale orders of packaged synthetic drugs to customers throughout the state of Missouri. These packages of synthetic marijuana had misleading labeling in order to avoid detection by law enforcement officers.
Hawkins and his business partners falsely referred to these synthetic drug products as “incense,” “herbal incense,” “potpourri,” “therapeutic potpourri,” that were labeled as “not intended for human consumption,” when, in fact, these products were synthetic drugs intended for consumption in order to obtain a “high.” When sold at retail stores, these products were often located next to products used for smoking the substances.
Law enforcement officers seized $177,398 from the bank account of Order-Refill, which must be forfeited to the government.
Under the terms of Monday’s plea agreement, Hawkins will be sentenced to 63 to 78 months. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.