Miami-Dade County

South Florida man imprisoned 20 years for synthetic-pot trafficking

An Aventura man was sentenced Friday to a maximum 20 years in prison for conspiring to distribute a synthetic drug commonly known as Spice and K2 that he bought from suppliers in China.

The case of Ronen Nahmani, 41, marked the first trial conviction of a synthetic marijuana distributor in South Florida, according to authorities. He has been in custody since July, when a Miami federal jury found him guilty of the conspiracy charge.

His defense attorney, David Weinstein, argued that Nahmani, an Israeli-born father of five young children, should receive less than 10 years in prison.

But U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore disagreed, saying the defendant showed no remorse for his crime and no concern for victims who used the synthetic cannabis.

Trial evidence showed Nahmani used the internet to order multi-kilo shipments of illegal powdery chemicals from Chinese — a troubling trend that the Miami Herald spotlighted in a recent series on China’s pipeline of synthetic drugs. He then converted chemicals into both leafy and liquid synthetic cannabis for distribution in South Florida and other parts of the country, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marton Gyires.

In total, Drug Enforcement Administration agents said Nahmani possessed more than 28 kilos of so-called cannabinoids attached to a leafy material or in loose powder or liquid form, according to court records.

Cannabinoids are potentially deadly because users don't know the actual content, dosage and potency of the synthetic drug, according to the DEA.

In July 2014, investigators stopped Nahmani and linked him to a large supply of powdery cannabis chemicals that he stored in a warehouse, prosecutors said. The warehouse also contained equipment for making the synthetic products and packaging with labels such as “Scooby Snax” and “Diablo.”

Spice and K2 are commonly sold in these types of packages, which often contain deceptive labeling that the product is "incense" and "not for human consumption" to throw off law enforcement, according to the DEA.