I-Team: Alleged spice distributor indicted

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A Utah movie maker who was the focus of an I-Team investigation has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas.

The I-Team’s Glen Meek first reported in May about alleged links between Burton Ritchie and a conspiracy to distribute “spice”.

Until the past week or so, cases naming Ritchie have been civil in nature.

Now, in addition to criminal charges filed in Virginia, Ritchie and a business partner face an 8-count federal indictment in Las Vegas.

The charges involve the alleged illegal distribution of synthetic marijuana or “spice”.

Spice has traditionally been sold in head shops and convenience stores as incense or potpourri. Smoked like marijuana, it’s usually laced with designer drugs that can cause severe psychotic reactions.

The new indictment alleges Ritchie had a spice-making operation that turned out 200 kilograms of product per week in a rented Las Vegas warehouse in the summer of 2012.

Ritchie sold the company that allegedly made the spice in fall 2012 and formed a film production company.

The I-Team caught up with him in downtown Los Angeles in August, where he was screening one of his films. Meek asked him about the products Ritchie allegedly made before he made movies.

“Mr. Ritchie, I want to sit down and discuss some of the businesses you were involved in before your movie production company,” Meek said.

“Of course not. This is ridiculous,” Ritchie replied.

New York resident Teresa Woolson says she wants to see Ritchie behind bars, because her son died after smoking products made by the alleged “spice” business Ritchie owned.

“I would like to see Mr. Ritchie in jail at the very least,” she said.

To a certain extent, Ms. Woolson has gotten her wish. Mr. Ritchie and his business partner Ben Galecki are in jail in Florida, where police arrested them on the charges out of Virginia.

Whether the men will stay in jail pending trial is up in the air. Both will be brought by U.S. marshals back to Virginia for a bond hearing.

Eventually, they will face the charges in Las Vegas as well. 8 News NOW will be there when they make their first court appearance.

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