State and federal officials break up one of the largest synthetic marijuana trafficking rings

- Omar Al Nasser seen here on the University of Houston Victoria campus website is an associate professor of finance.

Federal officials say he used his expertise in this huge criminal enterprise.

“He’s charges in two counts,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. “One is the conspiracy to commit money laundering, the other is aiding and abetting and illegally operating a money transmitting business.”

Federal officials are calling this operation,” We can here you now” and they say it’s one of the biggest busts in the nation involving synthetic marijuana.

“We seized over nine and a half tons of this synthetic chemical,” Magidson said.

And federal officials are asking the court for 35 million in a money judgment.

“It’s based upon the amount of money that we believe was made as profit and proceeds of this criminal activity,” said Magidson.

The 13-count indictment goes over every aspect of the illegal operation including making it and selling it all over the country.

“It’s poison sprayed on plant materials,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph Arabit.

The bulk of the synthetic pot federal officials say was sold right here in Houston.

“They are marketing to our youth and it’s making our kids sick,” Arabit said. “It’s killing kids.

In Houston alone federal authorities say at least 15 people a day are admitted to Ben Taub Hospital for synthetic marijuana overdoses.

“You can die bottom line,” said Magidson.

Eight of the men charged are from Houston, three are from Sugar Land, one is from Missouri City and one from Pearland.

As for Omar Al Nasser a spokesperson for U of H Victoria says “As more information becomes available UHV will consider action appropriate to the situation.”

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