A federal grand jury has indicted three people from Springfield for their role in an alleged drug distribution scheme. The trio, all members of a local family, face felony charges in connection with their conspiracy to distribute a synthetic drug known as K2 or Kryp2nite. The indictment was issued on Nov. 9.

This step marks the first-ever federal prosecution for the distribution of synthetic drugs in the area, according to prosecutors from western Missouri. The charges are part of a systemic crack-down on synthetic drugs throughout the region, according to law enforcement officers. Area officials have publicly denounced the use and sale of such substances, which are designed to have slightly different chemical compositions than traditional drugs but provide the same effects.

Many of these products are actually sold in stores throughout the nation in legitimate-looking packaging, according to officers. They are, however, just as deadly as the drugs they mimic. Sometimes, the substances are even more dangerous because of their altered chemical composition. Consumers and distributors alike may be unaware of the serious implications of selling or buying these substances.

Three people, ranging in age from 24 to 54, were charged in connection with the sale of K2 in the area. Search and seizure warrants were executed locally in response to the indictment. Those three suspects are accused of overseeing a trafficking ring that netted more than $6 million through the sale of K2 at a local store. K2 reportedly has similar effects on the nervous system as marijuana.

The defendants face charges of money laundering, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

This case is certain to draw attention because it is one of the first applications of synthetic drug law in the region. Many people who sell or purchase these drugs may be unaware that they are, in fact, illegal. It is not clear whether the trio will face longer sentencing possibilities than offenders facing more traditional drug charges.

Source: Ozarks First, "Springfield family members indicted for $6.7 million K2 conspiracy," David M. Ketchmark, Nov. 9, 2012.