Two Orange County men arrested on federal charges today allegedly were engaged in conspiracy with four Chinese nationals to distribute millions of dollars worth of designer drugs sold as "spice" or "bath salts."
Sean Libbert, 38, of Newport Coast, and Kyle Kledzik, 26, of Dana Point, were arrested based on charges in a 16-count federal indictment unsealed today.
"This groundbreaking investigation identified a complex scheme to import into Southern California large quantities of chemicals that are used to manufacture designer drugs such as spice," said Anthony D. Williams, special agent in charge of the local Drug Enforcement Administration office.
Libbert and Kledzik are scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana this afternoon.
The indictments came nearly two years after a raid on a home in San Juan Capistrano that neighbors described as a "warzone."
The case against Libbert, Kledzik and four Chinese nationals focuses on the smuggling and distribution of cannabinoids, which include synthetic marijuana or "spice," and synthetic cathinones, otherwise known as "bath salts."
According to the indictment, Libbert and his co-conspirators smuggled more than 300 kilograms of chemicals into the United States at a cost of more than $1.4 million between March 2010 and July 2012. The organization he allegedly headed also bought more than 300 kilograms of chemicals from domestic sources, according to the charges.
As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly formed a company called RCS Labs and used various websites to sell more than $12 million worth products.
Because of his criminal history, Libbert could face life in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors
Earlier, federal charges were filed against three other people tied to the ring.
Libbert also is charged with money laundering through banking transactions and make luxury purchases, such as a $1.4 million home in San Juan Capistrano. The government already has seized more than $1.1 million in assets related to the case and more than $700,000 in profits from the sale of Libbert's home.
--City News Service