Man gets 2½ years for distributing synthetic weed ingested before fatal crash

Prison Cell Bars

A North Carolina man accused of supplying the synthetic drug an Aurora man consumed before fatally crashing his car into a North Aurora home in 2011 has been ordered to spend 2½ years in prison.

Suliman Tanus was sentenced Monday in federal court for one count of distributing a controlled substance analogue.

His prison term, to begin Jan. 15, will be followed by two years of supervised release. The judge also imposed a $1,000 fine and ordered the sentence to run at the same time as one stemming from a similar but separate case initially filed in North Carolina.

Tanus’ co-defendant, Kevin Seydel, was sentenced in June to four years in prison for counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and money laundering. He also was ordered to serve two years of supervised release and fined $25,000.

An indictment filed against the two in May 2016 said Seydel operated “Spaced Out Herbz” and “Always 4 Less” in Bettendorf, Iowa, between January 2010 and July 2011 to manufacture drugs for human consumption that were misbranded and sold to stores across the country, including the Cigar Box in Aurora, where 19-year-old Max Dobner bought the synthetic drug he smoked before getting behind the wheel.

Seydel’s plea deal filed in federal court in December says he met with Tanus in April 2011 to give him instructions for making synthetic cannabinoids and also referred his customers, including Cigar Box in Aurora, to Tanus at that time.

A criminal complaint filed in April 2015 charged Cigar Box owner Ruby Mohsin and employee Mohammad Khan each with several crimes as well.

Mohsin’s plea deal filed in federal court says she operated the Cigar Box in the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora and conspired with Khan between January and August of 2011 to sell products, falsely labeled as potpourri and “not for human consumption,” knowing that customers were purchasing them to smoke or ingest to achieve a marijuana-like high.

Mohsin and Khan pleaded guilty in February to a count each of conspiracy to distribute misbranded drugs. The crime carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Khan was set to be sentenced Tuesday, but that hearing has been postponed.

Mohsin’s sentencing hearing began earlier this month and was set to be completed Tuesday but has been rescheduled for Jan. 4.