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UPDATE: Spice crackdown suspects due in federal court

UPDATED Thursday, May 8, 2014 --- 10:32 a.m.

DENVER (AP) -- People indicted in Denver for allegedly distributing and buying synthetic marijuana are scheduled to get their first hearings in federal court.

The three suspects arrested in Colorado as part of a nationwide crackdown on spice are due to appear before a magistrate judge Thursday afternoon. Six other people indicted by a Denver grand jury on charges of conspiracy and drug distribution were arrested in other states.

They include John Bowen of Las Vegas and Daniel Bernier of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Prosecutors say they ran companies in Florida and Colorado that imported chemicals from China to make spice and sold it under various brand names to smoke shops in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Alaska, Ohio, Georgia and Illinois as well as Colorado.

It wasn't immediately clear if Bowen or Bernier have lawyers yet.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 --- 4:01 p.m.

DENVER (AP) -- Nine people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver as part of a national crackdown on synthetic drugs.

Federal officials said Wednesday that the nine are from various states and some are also facing state charges. U.S. Attorney John Walsh says all are in custody after being arrested starting Wednesday morning.

Among those indicted is John Gilbert Bowen of Las Vegas. Investigators say he ran a business which sent synthetic drugs to Wisconsin, Nebraska, Alaska, Ohio, Georgia and Illinois as well Colorado.

Synthetic marijuana has been linked to outbreaks of illness in Colorado and elsewhere. It's blamed for at least one death in Colorado -- a 15-year-old Aurora boy who died last August.

While real marijuana is legal in Colorado, synthetic marijuana blends marketed under names such as K2 and Spice are not.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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