NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Jayson Mickle, 31, of Hampton, was sentenced today to 210 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues.
Mickle pleaded guilty on June 27, 2016. According to court documents, from 2008 to 2014, Mickle sold smokable synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “spice,” in the Hampton Roads area and, eventually, nationwide. Spice consists of plant material sprayed with ever changing active chemical ingredients often produced in clandestine laboratories in China. These chemicals mimic the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Mickle sold blends of spice with names like Hampster Purp, HPT Cherry, Bizarro, and Orgazmo. Although the packets of spice were labeled “not for human consumption,” Mickle knew that the spice was to be smoked for its intoxicating properties.
Mickle began sales through retail stores by the name of Hampton Pipe and Tobacco, located in Hampton, Newport News, Gloucester and Norfolk. In 2010, Mickle also began a wholesale operation online called Blazin Herbs. In 2013, the wholesale outfit’s name was changed to 7 City Gifts. At times, Mickle was supplied by Zencense, which was a large-scale spice producer and wholesaler based in Florida. Between January 2012 and April 2013, Mickle’s spice distribution operation purchased in excess of 1,000 kilograms of spice for resale from Zencense and its successor company, Zenbio, which was based in California. Mickle’s operations also supplied the Red Barn, a convenience store in Newport News, with spice in late 2013 into early 2014. From 2010 to 2012 alone, Mickle’s retail operation, Hampton Pipe and Tobacco, grossed over $9.6 million in spice sales. Mickle, who used a significant portion of his drug proceeds to purchase over two dozen real properties, was also ordered to forfeit those properties.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk; Joseph W. Cronin, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Richard Myers, Chief of Police, Newport News Police Department; Terry L. Sult, Chief of Police, Hampton Police Department; and Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Hurt and Kevin Hudson, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Cross-Rochefort prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:15-cr-18.