Jefferson County Man Sentenced in Synthetic Marijuana Conspiracy

BEAUMONT, January 28, 2015 - A 46-year-old Port Arthur, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Michael Williams pleaded guilty on July 9, 2014, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute synthetic marijuana and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison on Jan. 27, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

According to information presented in court, from May 2013 to November 2013, Williams conspired to receive synthetic marijuana from individuals in the Syracuse, New York area for distribution in the Port Arthur, Texas area. Williams was shipped boxes containing packages labeled with brand names such as: “Caution,” “Scooby Snax,” “Kush,” “WTF,” “Masterkush,” “Mr. Niceguy,” and “Klimax” on credit for approximately $4.50 per package. Williams would then sell the packages of synthetic marijuana to others for $8 to $10 per package and then either send money orders to Syracuse or deposit money into a Bank of America account in the name of another defendant.

In November 2013, a search warrant executed on Williams’ residence and vehicle revealed a phone, cash, and deposit slips linking Williams to the drug trafficking organization out of Syracuse. A federal grand jury in the Northern District of New York returned an indictment on Nov. 20, 2013 charging nine individuals in that organization with drug trafficking violations. Southeast Texans named in the NDNY indictment are Ali Bedwan, Joe Aref and Arafat Khdour. Bedwan pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in Beaumont in 2014 and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison. Aref and Khdour are awaiting trial in Syracuse. Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury in Beaumont in May 2014.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Port Arthur Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Rawls.

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