US attorney Stephanie Finley says it's easy to make cash when you're selling synthetic drugs, and Lafayette smoke shop Curious Goods raked in $5 million in less than a year by selling them, preferentially targeting people under the age of 25.
Over the past two years the US attorney's office says there's been an increase in emergency room visits and poison control center calls, all because of shady marketing tactics.
The individuals charged were apparently encouraging young people to buy and use the harmful substances by claiming they were not illegal. However, Finley says the drugs are illegal, and also dangerous and easily available: "These substances are being sold in store fronts in our communities, in our neighborhoods."
More disturbingly, Finley says that two men, Daniel Francis and Lafayette attorney Daniel Stanford actively helped Curious Goods carry out the illegal drug sales. According to the indictment, these two played more of a behind the scenes role, schooling and teaching employees how to market the product.
Their target? Anyone under the age of twenty-five, because they're more likely not to understand the legal and health dangers of the synthetic drugs. According to the US Attorney's office, the men were "giving [employees] a lot of instructions on how to mislead people on what the substance really was."
Finley says she's confident she'll convict the people involved in this case, and she's not stopping there: "We are watching. We're going to vigorously prosecute these types of cases because they're having harmful effects" on local communities.