Acadiana Business

DEA's investigation tainted, say two local attorneys indicted in Curious Goods conspiracy

by Patrick Flanagan

Daniel Stanford and Barry Domingue, the local attorneys indicted last year by a federal grand jury for their alleged roles in the Curious Goods' money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracy, have requested a dismissal of charges. Local attorneys Daniel Stanford and Barry Domingue were among those listed as co-conspirators, along with Curious Goods owner Richard Buswell, when U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley's Office unsealed the grand jury indictment on Oct. 2.

As previously reported by The IND, Stanford and Domingue have maintained their innocence in the case, and in separate motions filed in February and March with U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna, they argue for a dismissal of charges based on the DEA's faulty investigation and its improper use of the federal Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act.

At issue is the chemical AM-2201, used to make the synthetic drug "Mr. Miyagi," which was sold by Curious Goods as a non-smokeable "potpourri." AM-2201 was not included by the DEA when it issued an emergency ban in March 2011 on five synthetic cannabinoid substances, making them schedule I narcotics. In the case against Stanford, Domingue and the other Curious Goods co-conspirators, the feds allege AM-2201 is an analogue of JWH-018, one of the original five substances included in the March 2011 ban. Congress eventually passed legislation to include AM-2201 among the list of schedule I substances on July 9, 2012.

According to Stanford's motion, dated March 15:
Congress held hearings in 2011 and 2012 on proposed legislation to schedule various substances including AM-2201. These hearings were open to the public and were reported on the Internet and in other public media outlets. At no time was it mentioned that AM-2201 was a controlled substance or a "controlled substance analogue". Conversely, an individual tracking the movement of the legislative bills would have reasonably determined that AM-2201 was a legal substance up to and until it was legislated otherwise.

The DEA was aware of the existence and history of AM-2201 prior to its March 1, 2011, attempt to temporarily schedule JWH-018. The DEA did not attempt to provide any type of notice to the public regarding the status of AM-2201 as a potential "controlled substance analogue". Under the law and facts of this case, AM-2201 is not a "controlled substance analogue" of JWH-018. The indictment in this case should be dismissed.
According to Mona Hardwick, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley's Office, the motions filed by Stanford and Domingue are "still pending before the court."

Click here to read more on the alleged conspiracy involving Curious Goods, and attorneys Stanford and Domingue.