One of the spice products, called 10X, removed from O's Pipes and Tobacco. (Colorado Attorney General's office)

Last member of Larimer County ring that made and sold Spice sentenced

Kenneth Barnes sentenced to 18 months in federal prison

The last member of a ring that manufactured and distributed synthetic marijuana to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Denver has received an 18-month prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Colorado.

Kenneth Barnes was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by two years’ supervised release, and fined $1,000 on Feb. 25.

Last member of Larimer County ring that made and sold Spice sentenced in federal court
An assortment of Spice products removed from O’s Pipes and Tobacco as part of the four Spice-related cases filed by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman. (Colorado Attorney General’s office)

All five of the Larimer County residents involved in the ring pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate the Controlled Substances Act. They were arrested in July 2013.

The ring ordered the chemicals to make the fake pot, known as Spice, from China, and had it delivered to New York City. From there it was transported to Fort Collins where the group manufactured the drug and sprayed it on a green, leafy substance.

“The crude way in which the defendants produced the spice in this case is a danger,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s press release.

“If the fake cannabinoid is sprayed unevenly, it can create hot spots where the concentration of the chemical is dangerously high.”

The group would then package the product and either sell it to smoke shops in Colorado or elsewhere in the country for $10 per 1.5 gram package or $20 per 3 gram package.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez sentenced Barnes. He had earlier issued sentences ranging from 28 months to 48 months to the other members of the ring, Dien Le, Ponlue Pim, Pirun Pim and Ricky Pim.

“These prison sentences represent the end of a lengthy investigation to dismantle this drug trafficking organization by our ‘Homeland Security Investigations’ working together with our fellow law enforcement officers,” HSI Special Agent in Charge David A. Thompson said in the release.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force conducted the investigation.

Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671, tmcghee@denverpost.com or @dpmcghee

This story was first published on DenverPost.com