1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.

Tebb's Headshop raids (operation Log Jam)

By Basoodler, Dec 20, 2012 | Updated: Dec 26, 2012 | | |
  1. Basoodler
    Syracuse, N.Y. -- Dan Avery cheered the news Wednesday about the owner of a chain of head shops that sold bath salts to Central New Yorkers -- including Avery's son. John E. Tebbetts, owner of Tebb's Headshops, pleaded guilty to drug charges and faces up to 16 years in prison.

    “The simple fact is, he knew what he was doing and he continued to do it,” Avery said. “A lot of people lost their lives or got injured or permanently affected by it.”

    Across the country, people reacted violently this summer after they’d ingested synthetic drugs labeled “bath salts,” “glass cleaner” and other innocuous-sounding names. In Central New York, seven serious incidents were attributed to synthetic drugs, according to federal prosecutors.

    Avery’s 24-year-old son was hospitalized in July after overdosing on “glass cleaner” that he’d bought at Tebb’s Headshop in Watertown.

    Avery responded that day by smashing up the shop with a miniature baseball bat and threatening to kill the clerk. He’s facing criminal charges.

    Tebbetts, 33, of Rome, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to six felony charges.

    The charges included three counts of possessing a controlled substance analog — a drug that is chemically similar to a controlled substance — with the intent to sell the drugs at his head shops.

    Tebbetts admitted that products labeled “Legal Phunk” and “Amped” that he sold at his stores were illegal narcotics.

    The synthetic drugs were the equivalent of nearly 5,000 pounds of marijuana, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman said in court. Tebbetts’ lawyer, George Hildebrandt, contends the marijuana equivalent weight was much lower — about 24 pounds.

    Tebbetts also pleaded guilty to using $157,000 in cash from the sale of illegal drugs to buy a new mobile home in February.

    Under the plea agreement, Tebbetts agreed to forfeit $314,000 in cash and six vehicles.
    First Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant Jaquith called it “exceptionally important” to stop the sales of synthetic drugs in stores such as Tebbetts’.

    “The illusion that’s created of being able to walk into a store with regular hours and advertising just like you were at a convenience store is that it must be OK,” Jaquith said.

    People selling and making synthetic drugs try out new molecular structures that change quickly to try to keep ahead of the law, said James Burns, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s Albany office.

    “They’re poison,” Burns said. “These people who are selling this stuff or manufacturing this stuff are using our children as guinea pigs,” he said. “They create substances that have never been tested on either animals or people.”

    Since police raided Tebbetts’ stores and others in July, police have seen a huge reduction in the number of 911 calls about people overdosing on synthetic drugs, according to prosecutors.

    “Before this, we were averaging several calls each week, each day,” Oneida Police Chief David Meeker said. “After this, it’s basically down to zero.”

    Under federal sentencing guidelines, Tebbetts faces between 13 and 16 years in prison, Freedman said. Hildebrandt contends the range should be six to eight years. U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue scheduled sentencing for April 29.

    Over the past five years, Tebbetts opened 12 Tebb’s Headshops across New York and Maine, including three in Syracuse and one in Cicero.

    One of the laws that Tebbetts admitted he violated had only been enacted two weeks before DEA agents and local police raided his stores July 25, Hildebrandt said.

    Tebbetts was running his business out in the open, Hildebrandt said.

    “He wasn’t doing things in the dark of the night,” Hildebrandt said outside the courtroom.

    Tebbetts had received the drugs from manufacturers that sent lab reports and assurances that the materials did not include controlled substances, Hildebrandt said.

    Tebbetts admitted that he knew people would consume the products, even though the packages had labels warning that they were not for human consumption.

    Federal agents raided Tebbetts’ shops and his warehouse in July. They found more than $1 million worth of synthetic drugs. Agents seized $400,000 in cash; a 2012 $300,000 RV; seven other vehicles, including a custom-painted Tebb’s Headshop vehicle and a Cadillac; 33 pounds of unpackaged synthetic marijuana; 70,000 foil packets of synthetic marijuana; and 50,000 packets of bath salts, some labeled as glass cleaner.

    Tebbetts, a bankrupt ex-con, built a legitimate business that had skirted the edge of the law for five years. When the laws changed, outlawing certain chemical compounds, he changed what he was selling.

    State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Tebbetts and several other head shop owners for violating consumer protection laws with mislabeled products.

    Tebbetts must have known the drugs’ effects on his customers, Avery said.

    “It was common sense, just from repetitiously seeing people coming in and out of there, the looks of those people, just all freaked out,” Avery said.

    Teresa Woolson also applauded the prosecution of Tebbetts. Her 19-year-old son, Victor, drowned in August in Lake Ontario after becoming addicted to synthetic drugs.

    “These poisons are not drugs nor fake anything but poisons,” said Woolson, of Oswego County. “And the insane ability to purchase these in a store is hopefully over in our area.”

    She’s lobbying for stricter state and federal laws as a member of a grassroots group called Standing Against Synthetics Drugs.

    The Tebb’s Headshop on North Salina Street in Syracuse was still open Wednesday afternoon. A sign in front of the store advertised incense, pipes and detox kits, but no synthetic drugs.

    By John O'Brien and Marnie Eisenstadt


  1. Rob Cypher
    Re: Headshop owner admits to illegally selling synthetic drugs (Guilty plea)

    He pled guilty because they'll probably only make him do 25-50% of the maximum sentence - if he forced the issue they would've made him do 15 years for sure if he lost. Surprised he kept selling after the ban was in place.
  2. Basoodler
    Re: Headshop owner admits to illegally selling synthetic drugs (Guilty plea)

    Was he selling the new "not technically" illegal molecules?

    Just reading all the crap from the Mr. Nice Guy case, these guys had lawyers that would have product tested and choose the actives to protect them (at least Mr. Nice Guy did)

    I am just surprised at the few guilty pleas ive seen, but you are right he probably opted for a shorter sentence, and to keep his house.
  3. stryder09
    Re: Headshop owner admits to illegally selling synthetic drugs (Guilty plea)

    Was this an analog case or did the defendants actually sell explicitly controlled substances?
  4. Basoodler
    Re: Headshop owner admits to illegally selling synthetic drugs (Guilty plea)


    I bet the feds are not even bothering with the chemistry. I am pretty sure all they have to prove is that the proprietor knew they were human consumption. Which would automatically make them all illegal. Seems like that would be the path of least resistance.

    - just thought of that
  5. Basoodler
    Tebbs store in Oneida stays closed after federal "bath salts" raid
    Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 7:30 AM Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 7:34 AM

    The Tebb's Smokeshop store in Oneida has not reopened since federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided it Wednesday, according to Oneida police Chief David Meeker.

    Agents targeted several Tebb's shops and other head shops looking for illegal synthetic drugs including "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana.

    The Oneida Tebb's shop is across the street from the police department's back door. Usually, there's a steady flow of customers, Meeker said. Sometimes there's a line of people waiting for the store to open in the morning, he said.

    The store's phone was disconnected.

    There are 11 Tebb's locations: eight in Central New York and three in Maine.


    DEA raids on Tebb's Headshops netted $400,000 in cash, agents say

    Federal agents seized $400,000 in cash, eight vehicles and well over $1 million in synthetic drugs during their raids last month on a chain of head shops in Central and Northern New York and Maine.

    Federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials said the cash, drugs and vehicles were taken July 25 during their search of the New York Tebb’s Headshops stores and a Rome warehouse owned by the chain’s owner, John E. Tebbetts III, of Rome.

    Agents said there were 50,000 packets of “bath salts,” a synthetic drug that Tebbetts has also sold as “glass cleaner,” and 70,000 packets of synthetic marijuana packaged under several different names, including “Carefree Potpourri.” Tebb’s sold the bath salts for around $20 a package and the synthetic marijuana for about $15.

    Agents also said they seized another 30 pounds or more of unpackaged synthetic marijuana.
    Tebbetts and his lawyer, Leslie Lewis of New Hartford, did not return calls Friday.

    Tebbetts was moving the drugs from his Rome warehouse to his stores in New York

    and Maine, the DEA said. Agents wouldn’t comment on whether Tebbetts was also selling the drugs, wholesale, to other headshops. His Maine shops were hit in the July 25 raid, too.

    Agents also took eight vehicles from Tebbetts, including a new $300,000 recreational vehicle, a Cadillac and a car custom-painted with the Tebb’s logo, locations and phone number. They also seized a snowmobile trailer. The $400,000 in cash agents took was from a number of locations.

    Tebbetts has not been charged with a crime. He’s been the subject of a civil suit by the state attorney general for failing to follow labeling laws with the synthetic drugs he was selling.

    Most say “not for human consumption,” but are intended for just that. Onondaga and Oneida counties have the highest incidence of people ill from bath salts in the state, according to the Upstate Poison Control Center.

    People high on “bath salts” often act erratic and violent. There have been reports of people trying to eat other people, commit suicide and kill their pets while high on “bath salts.”

    Bath salts” are usually some form of a chemical stimulant similar to cocaine and methamphetamine. Synthetic marijuana is usually plant leaves soaked in some kind of chemical. Both had been legal until this week, when the state made selling and possessing the synthetic drugs a violation of public health law. Several towns and cities, including Syracuse, have made selling bath salts illegal under local law, too.
    There are four Tebb’s locations in Onondaga County, including one on West Fayette Street in Syracuse’s Armory Square. On Friday, a clerk at that store said he had no bath salts or synthetic marijuana to sell.


    CNY 'head shops' raided as part of nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs

    Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Police agencies throughout Central New York and the United States are executing raids on "head shops" following the recent passage of a Federal law banning ingredients in some synthetic drugs.

    In Central New York, the raids were conducted by multiple law-enforcement agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, State Police, Sheriff's Departments, and local police.

    Raids also took place in other areas of New York State, including Watertown, Rochester, and Utica.

    The US Attorney's Office said the agents were executing Federal search warrants.

    State Police told NewsChannel 9 the local raids were part of a nationwide operation. Media outlets throughout the United States are reporting similar raids, including locations in New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

    Multiple NewsChannel 9 reporters and photographers were at stores throughout Central New York. They reported seeing people being escorted from stores in handcuffs.

    Police in Central New York are primarily targeting the Tebbs Smokehouse chain of so-called head shops, which has stores in several cities and towns, but also stores in the 420 Emporium chain in Central and Western New York.

    The search warrant was sought after DEA officials seized two 22-pound boxes being sent to Central New York. Agents found small packages of synthetic drugs valued at $23,000.

    In an application for a search warrant, a DEA officer with a background among Central New York police agencies indicated that undercover officers had entered and made purchases at 420 Emporium locations in Syracuse and Fulton before legislation banning certain chemicals in synthetic drugs had passed. The search warrant application indicates that police wanted to seize surveillance cameras from the stores as evidence, as well as cell phones.

    On Wednesday, NewsChannel 9 recorded police taking items including packets from the stores.

    The application indicated that 420 Emporium owner Charles Darwin Fitzgerald was "involved in an ongoing pattern of narcotics trafficking" through the Fulton and Syracuse head shops, as well as locations in Western New York.

    Synthetic drugs, which include the subcategory popularly called "bath salts," have been linked to a number of bizarre and often violent incidents in Central New York – particularly Onondaga and Oneida counties.

    Last week, Syracuse Police arrested a man they say was high on bath salts when he held a knife to a child's neck.

    The chemicals were also connected to a woman’s naked rampage through the Madison County village of Munnsville. The woman died as a result of a heart attack after being tasered by a State Trooper who was trying to bring her under control.

    Police have also connected the substance to several violent incidents in Utica.

    Emergency personnel have seen a dramatic increase in the number of incidents involving synthetic drugs, while Syracuse’s Poison Control Center has also watched a climb in cases associated with the substances.


  6. Basoodler
    Tebb's headshop raids yielded $400,000 in cash, 8 vehicles

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012

    A federal raid in July of eight Tebb's Head Shop stores and affiliated warehouses and residences across the state, which included a store in Watertown, led to the seizure of several million dollars' worth of bath salt and synthetic marijuana products and contraband.

    According to officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration, agents seized 50,000 packets of bath salt products labeled as glass cleaner, 70,000 packets of synthetic marijuana and about 15 kilograms of product that had not been packaged. Also seized were about $400,000 in U.S. currency and a collection of eight vehicles and a snowmobile with a trailer valued at approximately $350,000.

    The raid of the Tebb's Head Shop in Watertown led to the seizure of $21,000, as well as 50 packets of bath salt products and 75 packets of synthetic marijuana.

    The stores belonged to John E. Tebbetts III. Several emails and calls to a number listed for Mr. Tebbetts over the past two weeks have not been answered or returned. The federal raid also included Jets Wholesale, also owned by Mr. Tebbetts.

    Bath salts and glass cleaner are slang terms for products classified as both synthetic cathinones and synthetic amphetamines often compared to cocaine and methamphetamine. The products are sold online and in a couple of local stores under a variety of names and are labeled “not for human consumption” to avoid federal regulators.

    Synthetic marijuana is created by spraying common herbs with synthetic cannabinoids, which simulated the drug's effects. Use of the products has been linked with hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure.

    The value of the unsold products could be as much as several million dollars.
    At prices seen at the Watertown location in July, a single package of bath salts, labeled as glass cleaner, was sold for $20, with packs of three priced at $50. A package of synthetic marijuana, sold as “carefree potpourri,” went for $15.

    In July, Mr. Tebbetts told the Times that his glass cleaner products were comparable to Windex, and sold so customers could clean glass pipes sold at the store, which he said were used to smoke tobacco. The explanation drew some skepticism from local anti-drug officials.

    The federal raid also included three Tebb's Head Shop stores owned by Mr. Tebbetts in Maine. The raid there led to the seizure of about 3,800 packets of synthetic marijuana, along with hundreds of pills for products labeled as “Legal RX” and “Legal Bars.”

    A DEA representative said federal charges against Mr. Tebbetts were being considered, but had not been filed.

    Officials with the U.S. District Attorney's office were not able to comment on the raid, saying that their search warrant and return inventory was sealed.

  7. Rob Cypher
    If "Legal Bars" are what I think they are, they're BS herbal (mostly blue lotus extract) concoctions meant to look like "Xanax bars". He probably won't get in trouble for that alone. (<
  8. Basoodler
  9. source
    I still think that banning synthetic drugs then doing a mass raid across the country shortly after was a very low and dirty thing for the DEA to do, it would have been a big task to shift all of the then 'illegal' drugs from all 12 of his headshops in New York and Maine.
    Added to that, due to the way these drugs are packaged and with no ingredients, the likelihood of still having some products in store that were still illegal would have been pretty high... considering that some products contained MDPV or Phenazepam at a time when they too were illegal.
    It was not uncommon for people to buy synthetic drugs off online shops around the same time, and even earlier, to find they contained illegal substances.

    The whole thing is a bit of a mess, his lawyers have obviously advised him to plead guilty because they know he is going to be made an example to others. Loopholes or leaky cases, I doubt whether he will come out smiling from the court.

    So annoying. Responsible adults bought products from his headshops, he didn't force them to buy and then ram the contents down their throats; if those adults who bought products from his shops and then couldn't handle the effects then that's their look out.

  10. stryder09
    Phenazepam isn't illegal at the federal level though. It isn't even applicable to the Analog Enforcement Act as most benzodiazepines are schedule IV and the analog act is only applicable to Schedule I and II substances.
  11. Basoodler
    Head of Tebbs Headshop empire sold synthetic drugs to provide for his family of eight

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- John Tebbetts was a drug addict with a felony conviction and a family to support. He started a sealcoating business, but the work was dirty and sporadic.

    So Tebbetts searched for a more stable source of income, according to court papers. And he found it in head shops. Tebbetts worked six days a week - sometimes more - to make his first shop in Utica a success, according to paperwork filed by his lawyer, George Hildebrandt.

    The work paid off. Tebbetts invested his profits and built a head shop empire with 12 stores in New York and Maine.

    He made enough money to buy a spacious house and an RV for his family, which includes six children. The problem: His empire's success rested on products that rode the line of legality and made people sick. He sold synthetic marijuana and "bath salts."

    Tebbetts now faces up to nine years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. His empire was taken down by a nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs in 2012. Tebbetts pleaded guilty Dec. 19, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to six felony charges of possessing synthetic drugs that were chemically similar to a controlled substance and money laundering.

    Federal agents determined that the weight of the drugs they took from Tebbetts' stores was equal to 5,000 pounds of marijuana. Tebbetts' attorney contested that, saying the weight would have been much smaller: 24 pounds.

    Tebbetts is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

    Tebbetts faces separate charges from the state for failing to pay his taxes and violating state labeling laws.

    He's been in jail since April 2013. Tebbetts pleaded with the judge to allow him to stay out of prison until his sentencing so he could move his family out of the home they could no longer afford and prepare them for his imprisonment.

    But Tebbetts violated his pre-trial probation when he was caught with forty narcotic pain pills that were not prescribed to him. At the time, he apologized to the judge and said he hoped to get drug treatment while in prison.

    It would be at least his second time through rehab. Tebbetts went through rehab in 2005 as part of his sentence for stealing a safe, according to court documents.

    Tebbetts' lawyer filed paperwork this month asking the judge for a shortened sentence. In it, Hildebrandt wrote that Tebbetts had convinced himself that it was "edgy" but lawful to sell the bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Tebbetts thought "his actions may be skirting but not over the line," according to the court papers.

    He worked to stay a step ahead of the laws. When synthetic marijuana, called "Legal Phunk," was banned, Tebbetts' stores held a contest to give the product a new name. The winner: "Carefree Potpourri." When "bath salts" became a high profile problem, Tebbetts relabeled his bath salts "glass cleaner," according to court papers.

    But Tebbetts' motivation was to provide for his family, Hildebrandt wrote. When Tebbetts was released from prison and rehab in 2005, he fought for custody of his oldest child, which he was given despite his felony conviction, Hildebrandt wrote.

    The charges against Tebbetts have forced his family to move in with his in-laws and change schools, according to court papers. Before, they had a comfortable life. When police raided Tebbetts' home, they seized seven vehicles, including a Cadillac and an RV valued at $300,000. They also seized $400,000 in cash from his home and businesses.

    As Tebbetts' empire grew, police departments in small communities struggled to deal with an onslaught of people high on synthetic drugs. The synthetic drugs often left their users violent to both themselves and others, police said.

    The village of Herkimer, population 9,000, didn't have much of a drug problem until Tebbetts opened a store there in 2011, according to Police Chief Joseph Malone.

    The problem became so intense that the village passed its own law banning bath salts and other synthetic drugs. Afterward, Malone asked Tebbetts to take the products off of his shelves.

    He recalled that he told Tebbetts he was hurting people in the community.

    Tebbetts' reply, according to Malone: "We sell a
    product. I can go to Wal-Mart and buy Clorox and drink it. Does that mean Walmart is responsible for my death?"

    by Marnie Eisenstadt, syracuse.com
    July 7 08:05 AM
  12. Phenoxide
    John Tebbetts, of Tebb’s Head Shops, guilty of tax evasion

    [IMGR="white"]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=42310&stc=1&d=1420333337[/IMGR]SYRACUSE -- John Tebbetts, the former owner and operator of Tebb’s Head Shops, located throughout Central New York, has pleaded guilty to felony charges related to a five-year scheme to avoid paying New York sales and income tax.

    Tebbetts, 34, of Rome, pleaded guilty in Onondaga County Court to third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony, for which he will be sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison; and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, a class E felony, for which he will be sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox said on Friday.

    Tebbetts confirmed that he owes New York state in excess of $616,000 in unpaid sales tax and personal income tax as part of his plea deal.

    Sales tax money collected by businesses from their customers belongs to state and local governments, and businesses are responsible for ensuring that these funds are remitted to the state when due, typically on a quarterly basis. The State returns a portion of the funds to local governments to fund government operations.

    Tebbetts, the sole owner of head shops in Onondaga, Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, and Jefferson counties, admitted that he failed to remit sales tax collected between March 2007 and September 2012 on the sale of herbal incense, pipes, hookahs, body jewelry, dart supplies and other items sold in his stores. Tebbetts has already admitted to selling dangerous synthetic drugs, known as bath salts, at his stores.

    “Tebbetts jeopardized the health and well-being of Central New Yorkers by using his head shops to sell bath salts – synthetic drugs that have wreaked havoc on our communities in recent years – and added insult to injury by defrauding taxpayers in the process,” said Schneiderman.

    In August 2012, the attorney general filed a lawsuit against Tebb’s Head Shops for the sale of bath salts and synthetic drugs in violation of the state’s labeling laws. In January 2013, a state Supreme Court justice ruled in the attorney general’s favor, permanently barring the shops from selling any mislabeled, misbranded or unapproved drugs or intoxicants.

    In December 2012, Tebbetts pleaded guilty in United States District Court to numerous federal criminal charges, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. On July 8, 2014, Tebbetts was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison on those charges.

    Tebbetts will be sentenced on the tax evasion counts on August 15 in Onondaga County Court.

    Oneida Daily Dispatch
    July 25th 2014

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!