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Nov 16, 2012 7:40 PM by Tonya LaCoste

Two more guilty pleas in Curious Goods case

Two defendants in the Curious Goods case changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty. Boyd A. Barrow, 43, of Canton, Ga., and Joshua Espinoza, 49, of Marietta, Ga., admitted to selling $10 million dollars worth of synthetic marijuana to customers in 25 states, including Curious Goods stores in the Acadiana area, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley. Drew T. Green, 38, of Roswell, Ga.and Thomas William Malone,Jr., 45, of Roswell, Ga.pled guilty in September. They were the owners of NutraGenomics and sold approximately $10 million dollars worth of synthetic marijuana to customers in 25 states, including Curious Goods, Finley said.

Two Lafayette attorneys have been indicted in the case - Daniel James Stanford and Barry L. Domingue. They're charged with conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs, conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and various money laundering charges. Another Lafayette man, Curious Goods owner Richard Joseph Buswell is facing charges. Other defendants live in Georgia and Florida.

Charges stem from a nationwide synthetic drug sting which resulted in more than 90 arrests and more than five-million packets of synthetic drugs being confiscated. Prosecutors say Curious Goods sold a product called "Mr. Miyagi," which was infused with synthetic marijuana and allege Stanford trained, advised, and instructed Curious Goods employees on how to store, display and sell the "Mr. Miyagi" products, and how to detect and evade law enforcement. All along, Stanford has said he's done nothing wrong, and that he was just representing his client.

According to court documents, Barrow and Espinoza owned and operated Pinnacle Products L.L.C. And Pinnacle Products Group. They're accused of manufacturing "Mr. Miyagi" with a synthetic cannabinoid received from another company, NutraGenomics. "From March of 2011 until on or about December 8, 2011, Barrow and Espinoza, through Pinnacle, supplied "Mr. Miyagi" to Curious Goods L.L.C., which was located on Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette, La., and various retail "head shops" and smoke shops throughout the United States," said Finley. Court records show during that same time period, Pinnacle received approximately $3.3 million dollars from selling "Mr. Miyagi," and $1.5 million of that was from Curious Goods.

During their guilty pleas, Barrow and Espinoza said they made several payments to Stanford - more than $39,000. Also, records show they paid Domingue $40,000. The memo sections of the checks to Stanford show he was paid for "retainer," "RCA Dues," and "legal." One payment was made using a cashier's check. Domingue's check's memo line also read "legal."

"These defendants are corporate owners who pled guilty to very serious charges. The remaining defendants are still scheduled to go to trial on this indictment. The remaining defendants are innocent until proven guilty. The indictment, as it pertains to the remaining defendants, are only allegations," Finley said.

Trial dates for Stanford, Domingue and Buswell have yet to be set.

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