LAYTON — For the first time ever in Utah, a federal grand jury has handed down an indictment against a man for distributing spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, in Layton last year.
Hassan Mohammed Albadri was indicted Wednesday in Salt Lake City on six counts of possession with intent to distribute spice.
The indictment alleges Albadri committed the offenses in November 2011 at three Layton locations: 50 N. Main St., 743 N. King St. and 3025 N. 1165 East.
The Main Street and King Street locations are businesses and the other address is a residence, Layton Police Lt. Travis Lyman said Thursday.
Albadri could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The indictment stems from a federal law that prohibits possession and distribution of synthetic drugs with chemical structures similar to controlled substances, said Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City.
“The ability to use this law for Spice is relatively new because of state and federal action to cover it under federal law,” she said.
Spice, a drug that gives the user a marijuana-like high, is banned in Utah.
The indictment was prompted by an investigation by the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force, FBI and federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Rydalch said.
Authorities seized a sizable amount of Spice in the undercover operation, said Lyman.
“It was rampant,” he said. “We are pleased to see the case proceed (with federal indictments).”
Information was not available regarding the exact quantity or value of the spice seized.
Rydalch said the “totality of the circumstances” and the amount of spice confiscated allowed federal prosecutors for the first time in Utah to seek indictments.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of property that Albadri derived from spice proceeds, including a 2005 Infiniti, a 2000 BMW and $103,205 in cash. If convicted Albadri could face a maximum of 20 years on each count, Rydalch said.
Albadri will appear by summons for an arraignment June 20 in U.S District Court in Salt Lake City before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.