Palm beach county woman faces up to 20 years in flakka case
Posted on September 21, 2015 3:00 AM EST
On Monday (Sep. 21), J. Nicole Lewis, 22, pleaded guilty in West Palm Beach federal court of conspiring to import key ingredients used to make "Flakka," court records show.
Earlier this year, a federal
prosecutor said that this case is believed to be the first of its kind to target the importation of Flakka into South Florida.
For her role in the scheme, Lewis faces up to 20 years in prison, the Sun Sentinel reported. Her co-defendant, K. Raphael Bully pleaded not guilty.
Lewis and Bully were arrested after London-based agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted drug packages from Hong Kong headed for the U.S. An undercover DEA agent posing as a delivery company employee dropped off the packages to Lewis' home.
When the undercover DEA arrived at Lewis' residence, Bully signed for them.
On March 26, the undercover DEA agent dressed as a DHL employee and delivered a package to the Palm Beach County address listed. Though the package was addressed to Lewis, Bully answered the door and signed for it.
Minutes later, Bully left the house in a black Audi and he was arrested. A search of his vehicle uncovered $8,000 in cash, said the authorities.
While searching his home, authorities found $60,000 in cash, a handgun, marijuana, three cellphones, an empty DHL back from a Chinese chemical company and a white substance thought to be used to "cut" drugs.
A search of Bully's cellphone revealed text messages about Lewis and other individuals discussing deliveries to different addresses.
Lewis is described to have an accountant-type role in Bully's illegal drug operation. She was taken into custody in April, shortly after a criminal complaint was filed against the pair.
According to records, Lewis' sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 2.
'FLAKKA' HAS BECOME A PROBLEM IN FLORIDA
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), Flakka is a surging problem in Florida and other parts of the country. Flakka (alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone or alpha-PVP) is a dangerous synthetic cathinone drug similar to drugs known as "bath salts."
Flakka can be snorted, eaten, injected or vaporized into an e-cigarette. Since vaporizing sends the drug quickly into the bloodstream, it's easy to overdose.
Flakka can cause "excited delirium," a condition characterized by paranoia and hallucinations, which can lead to violent aggression and self-injury. The drug is linked to kidney damage, kidney failure, suicide and heart attack.
Facing drug charges? Call Donet, McMillan & Trontz, P.A. for a free case evaluation!