A Texas man arrested for allegedly possessing and selling thousands of dollars' worth of synthetic marijuana had his case dismissed by the Bell County district attorney because of inconsistent police statements.
Anthony Joseph, 43, of Killeen, Texas, was facing the prospects of life in prison if convicted of the charges for allegedly selling and possessing synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice or K2, before Killeen District Attorney Henry Gaza decided not to go forward with the case Friday, the Killeen Daily Herald reported Wednesday. Joseph, who owned a smoke shop in Killeen, was arrested in September after Killeen police raided the business, the aptly named Smoke Shop, and allegedly found more than a kilogram of synthetic weed -- the largest bust in Bell County history.
A Killeen Police Department detective who was later promoted to sergeant filed a search warrant affidavit that indicated the substance seized from Joseph tested positive for synthetic cannabis. But the smoke shop owner’s attorney, David Fernandez, discovered a report from the detective that was filed two days earlier that showed the substance tested negative.
Fernandez argued that the officer, Sgt. Eureka Williams, lied in the affidavit.
“Detective Eureka Williams, the lead detective in Anthony Joseph’s case, misled and deceived Judge Cooke in a sworn search warrant affidavit in order to get a search warrant for the Smoke Shack,” Fernandez wrote in a statement emailed to the Daily Herald.
A police department spokeswoman said the discrepancies in the report were due to “human error” and there was “no malice in its intent.”
Williams gave a police informant $60 on Sept. 25 to buy the 10.5 grams of the substance from Joseph. The substance tested back negative. Williams then filed the affidavit indicating that the material tested positive for synthetic marijuana.
Garza’s office said it was dismissing the case against Joseph “in the name of justice” and referenced the inconsistent statements for its decision. “It is not an action we take lightly or one we do with frequency,” Garza said. “We had a host of issues that had developed related to this prosecution.”
The Daily Herald’s report came a day after the unsealing of a federal affidavit in North Texas related to synthetic cannabis. A pair of Paris, Texas, residents, James Stuart and Evelyn Worthington, were accused in the affidavit of making synthetic marijuana and purchasing synthetic cannabis from a Dallas-area smoke shop. Stuart was arrested by federal agents Monday.
The synthetic drugs were allegedly sold to undercover Paris police officers by Bradley Lenington, an associate of Worthington’s who worked at her business, Sweet D’s. The business closed earlier this month. Officers allegedly found “numerous packages of synthetic cannabis” inside Sweet D’s, according to the Dallas Morning News.
In the affidavit, which was obtained by the Morning News, Lenington explained how the synthetic marijuana operation went down between himself, Stuart and Worthington.
“According to Lennington, around October 2012 and afterward, he accompanied Stuart to purchase synthetic cannabis from EZ Way Smoke Shop on at least five occasions,” the affidavit said. “The products were picked up in Lewisville, Texas, and the bulk product was packaged in 3 x 3 x 3 foot containers, and some product was sent to Worthington via FedEx from Arlington, Texas. Lenington stated that each sale ranged from $50,000 to $150,000 and Stuart always paid in cash.”
The manager of the smoke shop, EZ WAY, said the business is under new ownership since the time of the allegations outlined in the affidavit.
“We don’t sell any type of potpourri or fake weed or anything like that,” the manager told the Morning News. “We might have a few months ago, but not anymore.”