Synthetic drug trial pushed back

Jack Latta jlatta@civitasmedia.com

August 30, 2013

PRESTONSBURG — The trial of a man accused of selling synthetic marijuana in Floyd County, which was supposed to begin Thursday, will have to wait at least a few more weeks.

Jury selection and opening arguments were scheduled to begin Thursday until several motions by attorneys for the defendant Thomas J. Jones, 57, of Langley, led Judge Jimmy Marcum to issue a continuance of the trial to allow defense attorneys more time to prepare. The trial has been reset for Sept. 26.

Jones was charged with one count of trafficking in synthetic drugs after he was arrested last May when police officers raided his business, the Smoke Shack in Martin, and allegedly found several boxes of “synthetic marijuana.”

Following his arrest, attorneys for Jones filed a motion to suppress and immediately return the property that was seized claiming that the packets confiscated by police in their raids were not actually listed among those outlawed. A laboratory report issued in response by the Kentucky State Police found the confiscated products — “Head Trip,” “Mr. Nice Guy Mango,” “Scooby Snax” and “Mary Jane” — each contained substances consistent with a Schedule I drug.

The police search warrant on Jones business and found over 700 packets of synthetic marijuana, with a value of just over $19,000.

On April 11, 2012, the Kentucky state legislature created emergency legislation with House Bill 481 to prohibit the trafficking in or possession of synthetic drugs, specifically “synthetic cannabinoids or piperazines,” “synthetic cathinones,” and “synthetic drugs.”

Since that date, Jones has been arrested three times in connection to crimes related to the trafficking of synthetic marijuana.

In the last arrest, Jones was arrested by Prestonsburg Police Department officials after a package of synthetic marijuana was shipped in care of Thomas Jones, Smoke Shack, to another business.

Trafficking in synthetic drugs is a class D felony. According to a report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, synthetic marijuana was linked to 11,406 drug-related emergency department visits in 2010.