The owners of Carousel Music in Gaffney and Smoker’s Edge in Shelby, North Carolina, have been indicted on drug charges, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said Wednesday that Stephen Petty, 42, and his wife Sirena Petty, 39, have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a mixture or substance containing a detectible amount of UR-144 and XLR-11.
UR-144 and XLR-11 are Schedule 1 controlled substances under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They have been used to supplement herbal products that are smoked.
Jessica Weast, 27, was also arrested in North Carolina and indicted. She is a former employee of the Pettys.
All three individuals could receive a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
According to Nettles, federal investigators seized over $600,000 from approximately nine of the Petty’s bank accounts. Agents also seized what they believe to be over $800,000 in cash at the Petty’s residence.
Along with the currency, 20,000 packages of synthetic cannabinoids, more commonly known as “spice,” were seized from both the Pettys and their businesses.
Synthetic cannabis is a drug that is derived from natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that allegedly mimic the effects of cannabis on consumption. According to the DEA, they are often marketed as incense, bath salts or jewelry cleaner.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin set the Pettys’ and Weast’s bond at $150,000 each.
These arrests were part of a nation-wide crack down between local and federal law enforcement in South Carolina known as “Project Synergy.” In the recent weeks, the DEA has executed over 300 search warrants and 150 arrest warrants.
South Carolina Radio Network’s Manny Correa contributed to this report