Fresno, California - Haitham Eid Habash, aka Eddie Habash, 55, of Hawthorne, was sentenced Monday to five years and three months in prison for his role in supplying synthetic drugs to wholesale internet drug traffickers, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced. Habash was also ordered to forfeit over $193,000 in proceeds derived from drug trafficking.
According to court documents, in 2015, Habash manufactured smokeable synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “spice,” which contained AB-Chminaca, AB-Pinaca, and XLR11, all of which are Schedule I controlled substances. Habash personally negotiated with and obtained the raw chemicals directly from Chinese suppliers. He would then dilute them with a solvent before mixing them with flavoring to add to dried plant material. Habash sold his drugs under various brand names, including Bizarro and his own special blend, Mr. High. His customers included his co-defendant Majed Bashir Akroush, aka Magic Mike, 51, of Bakersfield, who sold Habash’s product over the internet under the business names of Magic Mans Wholesale, Blue Whale Wholesale, and World of Incense.
According to the plea agreement, on April 14, 2015, CHP officers intercepted 95 pounds of synthetic cannabinoid products manufactured by Habash in Bakersfield.
The case against Akroush is still pending. He is charged with the drug conspiracy and two substantive drug offenses, all of which carry a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Akroush is also charged with conspiring to structure several million dollars obtained from his drug trafficking activity. The structuring charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Motor Vehicles, Kern County Probation, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Bakersfield Police Department. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of OCDETF is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.