Drug Trafficker Arrested on Molokai
Spice, incense substances now illegal in Hawaii
Bulgarian national Alexander Dimov, age 33, was arrested on Molokai two weeks ago under federal charges of manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, Spice or incense. Dimov was one of four indicted around the U.S. in an international conspiracy for trafficking designer drugs. Dimov appeared in federal court in Honolulu before he was transported to Oregon.
According to a Department of Justice press release, the defendants mixed chemical compounds with herbal exacts, and marketed the products on the Internet. They are alleged to have purchased dozens of domain names, such as “k2drugs.com” and “k2incense.org,” to “obtain a monopoly on the market for K2,” according to the release.
The investigation, led by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland
Security Investigations (HSI), culminated on May 15 with the execution of a search warrant of Dimov’s Molokai residence. The same day, a warehouse of co-conspirator Ryan Scott in Vancouver, Washington, was also searched, where agents seized hundreds of pounds of dried plant materials, packaging equipment and chemicals, according to the release.
“With these arrests, HSI has halted a multi-million dollar business that we believe was a
threat to public health and safety,” said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “The public should be aware that these synthetic drugs are just as dangerous, and now just as illegal, as similar controlled substances.”
Dimov and other defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. They are also charged with illegal importation, smuggling, distributing misbranded drugs, and money laundering. Trial is set for July 10 in U.S. District Court.
As of Friday, additional information about Dimov’s presence on Molokai was not yet released by federal authorities, and the Molokai Police Department, which assisted in the arrest, had no comment.
New Laws Made Drug Illegal
The indictment comes soon after both federal and state authorities have taken emergency action to make various strains of chemicals used in the production of synthetic cannabinoids illegal in March. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restricted five chemicals by naming them in a category of drugs with the highest level of potential abuse.
On April 19, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Act 29 into Hawaii state law, which controls the entire family of drugs, not only the five named by federal law, according to Keith Kamita, state deputy director for law enforcement and public safety.
Kamita said the action was taken because over 100 variations of the substance exist, and every time a particular chemical is banned, another variation is produced.
“We were always playing catch-up,” he said. “Right now, almost everything is [illegal].”
Before the substance was made illegal, it was being sold as herbal incense on Molokai, causing concern among some high school parents and teachers, who believed students may be using the drug. While many products are labeled “not for human consumption,” abuse of the substance is “an imminent hazard to the public safety,” according to the DEA.
Spice and related substances have been known to produce paranoia, panic attacks, giddiness, seizures, hallucinations and vomiting, along with increased blood pressure and heart rate. Across the U.S., the number of calls to poison control centers related to the drug has doubled in the past year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.