SALT LAKE CITY — The owner of Victor's smoke shop in Kaysville has been indicted by a federal grand jury for selling a THC-infused substance known as spice.
Adel Al-Mukahel, 44, of West Valley City, also owns Victor's and VIP Smokes and Hookah in South Jordan. He was charged with four counts of conspiracy to distribute and possess a controlled-substance analogue and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges follow an undercover operation that resulted in a seizure of spice worth about $60,000 and the seizure of more than $230,000 in cash, according to federal court documents.
The money laundering charges stem from allegations that Al Mukahel is a ranking member of an Iraqi Mafia gang that operates in the Salt Lake area, according to documents filed by Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Matt Fairbanks.
Al-Mukahel and an employee, Hani Al-Saimari, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court. They are scheduled to appear at a four-day trial beginning March 5.
The investigation that resulted in the pair's arrest took 11 months and was completed in early November of 2012.
The Davis County Metro Narcotics Strike Force and the DEA Metro Narcotics Strike Force investigated after police were informed that spice was being sold at the Kaysville smoke shop.
Over the course of the investigation, agents allegedly made several spice purchases.
Spice is a synthetic drug that is said to give the user a marijuana-like high. It is banned in Utah and federal legislation prohibiting its use was passed in July.