Cumberland Times-News

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April 23, 2014

Puff & Stuff owners agree to settlement over claims they sold synthetic drugs

Local business forfeiting nearly $175,000

CUMBERLAND — Charles and Traci Casey, owners of Puff & Stuff stores in Cumberland and LaVale, have agreed to forfeit $173,988.61, to settle claims that they sold synthetic drugs at their stores.

According to the federal settlement agreement and complaint for forfeiture, in April 2012, the Maryland State Police received complaints about a business called Puff & Stuff that operated in Cumberland.

The complaints stated that the business is a “head shop,” a business that sells drug-related paraphernalia, and sold synthetic drugs.

The synthetic drugs are often labeled as different brands, but they are commonly referred to as “spice.”

According to the complaint, what the Caseys were selling as spice was leafy vegetable matter sprayed with chemicals that have a pharmacological effect on the human body that is similar to that of marijuana. Puff & Stuff currently operates at two locations in Cumberland and another in LaVale.  

A Maryland State Police Task Force initiated an investigation and conducted five controlled purchases of spice from Puff & Stuff stores from April 23, 2012, through Feb. 27, 2013.

On March 7, 2013, officers executed five search and seizure warrants at the Casey residence; the three Puff & Stuff store locations; and for two of the Caseys’ bank accounts, seizing a total of $259,988.61 and numerous packets of spice.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the government has agreed to release $86,000 of the seized funds and the Caseys have agreed to withdraw their claims to the remaining $173,988.61.

In addition, the Caseys have agreed to stop selling any substances marked or distributed as “potpourri,” “spice” or “bath salts.”

The claims settled by the agreement are reportedly allegations, and there has been no determination of liability.

The settlement was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein and involved Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; C3I; Col. Marcus Brown, superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Cumberland Police Chief Charles Hinnant; Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson; Frostburg Police Chief Royce Douty, Frostburg State University Chief of Police Cindy Smith; and Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael Twigg.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stefan Cassella handled the forfeiture.

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