LAFAYETTE — A federal grand jury indicted nine men, including two Lafayette lawyers, and a local business in a multistate synthetic marijuana trafficking ring that generated millions of dollars over a 10-month period, according to the indictment.
Those charged in the 16-count indictment filed Sept. 4 and unsealed Tuesday were: Daniel James Stanford, 54, of Lafayette; Barry L. Domingue, 52, Carencro; Richard Joseph Buswell, 44, Lafayette; Alexander Derrick Reece, 40, Gainesville, Fla.; Drew T. Green, 38, Roswell, Ga.; Thomas William Malone Jr., 45, Roswell, Ga.; Boyd Anthony Barrow, 43, Canton, Ga.; Joshua Espinoza, 49, Marietta, Ga.; and Daniel Paul Francis, 42, Dawsonville, Ga.
Stanford and Domingue are Lafayette lawyers.
Also charged in the 27-page indictment was Curious Goods, which includes five smoke shops owned by Buswell in the Acadiana area where tobacco products, pipes, bongs and rolling papers are sold. There are three Curious Goods stores in Lafayette, one in Vermilion Parish and one in Iberia Parish.
The Curious Goods stores sold $5 million worth of a product called “Mr. Miyagi” throughout the Acadiana area from March 1, 2011, until Dec. 31, according to the indictment.
The product was sold as potpourri but was in fact infused with synthetic cannabinoids, which provide a marijuanalike high and are considered controlled and dangerous substances, the indictment says.
The indictment comes after the December seizure of $1.6 million worth of goods containing synthetic marijuana from Curious Goods and its warehouse during a raid by the Lafayette Metro Narcotics Task Force.
About 90 percent of the items seized were labeled “Mr. Miyagi Timeout,” authorities have said.
The indictment says Reece, Green, Malone, Barrow and Espinoza served as suppliers of the synthetic cannabinoids.
The document says Stanford is director and Francis is president of Retail Compliance Association, a Louisiana company that Stanford and Francis used to train, advise and instruct the owners of Curious Goods and their employees “on how to store, display and sell the ‘Mr. Miyagi’ products, on how to detect and evade law enforcement, and how to respond to customers who asked questions about how to use the ‘Mr. Miyagi’ products and/or the physiological effects of the ‘Mr. Miyagi’ products.”
According to the indictment, Stanford and Francis are accused of holding a meeting at Buswell’s home on Dec. 7, 2011, at which they held such a training session for Domingue, Barrow, Espinoza, Buswell and others involved with Curious Goods.
A day after the meeting, Stanford was paid $80,000 by an unindicted co-conspirator, the indictment says.
The indictment further alleges Stanford received checks totaling $156,921 from Pinnacle Products, which is controlled by Espinoza and Barrow, and Curious Goods.
Meanwhile, the indictment says, Domingue received checks totaling $91,319 from the two companies.
The indictment says Pinnacle Products manufactured “Mr. Miyagi” for sale at Curious Goods.
Domingue did not return a call to his office Tuesday.
Stanford, reached by phone Tuesday, said he is representing himself in the criminal case.
“I’ve done nothing wrong. At all times, I was representing my client,” said Stanford, who, up until June 25, represented Buswell in an unrelated, pending federal criminal case involving Buswell’s former company, Bowman Investment Group.
Stanford rents an office suite in lawyer Bill Goode’s office building.
“I was dismayed that the government indicted Daniel Stanford and Barry Domingue,” Goode said Tuesday. “I’ve known them both professionally for many years, and from everything I know about them, they are honorable, honest and hardworking lawyers who would never commit a crime because to do so would cost them their license.”
Being a lawyer is what Stanford’s life is about, Goode said.
“He would never do anything to jeopardize his ability to practice law,” Goode said.
Baton Rouge attorney Ian Hipwell is now representing Buswell.
“Mr. Buswell looks forward to having his day in court,” Hipwell said in reference to the recent charges. “He has asserted his innocence and is anxious to prove it.”
The indictment also indicates the federal government will pursue forfeitures of $20 million in proceeds derived from the drug trafficking violations, $462,239 seized from three checking accounts, a 2006 Mercedes Benz X65 Sedan, a 2005 Baja Outlaw Speed Boat, a 2002 Pontiac Firebird and land in Lafayette Parish.