Jaime Nicole Lewis, a Palm Beach woman who was arrested on charges of importing and possessing with attempt to distribute flakka from China charges last April, has pleaded guilty.
Lewis, age 22, appeared in West Palm Beach federal court on Monday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import flakka.
In a story detailed in New Times in April, Lewis was busted after DEA agents stationed in London received information from British authorities about several packages that had been intercepted from a chemical company in Hong Kong. The Chinese chemical company had been using a worldwide express delivery service to ship a-PVP — flakka's main ingredient — to buyers in the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
It was during an ongoing investigation on the trafficking of molly and other cathinones in the United States that authorities received word of suspected narcotics packages being delivered to Palm Beach County. DEA agents, disguised as DHL delivery men, delivered packages to an address in Palm Beach County where a woman answered the door and took them. One of the packages was addressed to Lewis. The package allegedly containing a-PVP had her address and telephone number as well, authorities said.
According to the criminal complaint, Lewis is specifically charged with "importing and possessing with the intent to distribute Alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (a-PVP), aka 'Flakka' and the conspiracy to do the same." Another woman who was at the premises was also arrested.
"The manufacture, sale, and abuse of synthetic drugs represents a clear and detrimental danger to our society," Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright said via a statement. "These substances serve no legitimate purpose other than to generate a powerful intoxication for the user while generating enormous illicit profits for the criminal organizations who sell them. These powerful chemicals are generally manufactured and produced in a foreign laboratory environment without safety protocols nor concerns for their potential negative effects, which ultimately leaves the users at great risk of death."
Lewis' arrest also led to the arrest of Kevin Raphael Bully, who authorities say was at the center of exporting flakka from China to distribute it on the streets. One of the packages delivered by undercover agents was supposed to go to Bully, authorities allege. The name on the package belonged to Lewis, but Bully signed for it. After delivering the package, agents waited and watched as Bully took it to another location.
When agents pulled Bully's car over, they saw wads of cash wrapped in rubber bands on the console of the car. Authorities then searched Bully's home, where they found three cell phones, a personal computer, and $60,000 more in cash, all allegedly used to run his flakka distribution operation.
Bully has pleaded not guilty.
Lewis, meanwhile, is facing a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison. Her sentencing hearing has been scheduled for December 2, according to the Sun Sentinel.