Jul 24, 2013 10:33 PM by Steven Albritton
The former owner of Curious Goods Smoke Shop is facing prison time after pleading guilty in two separate cases. Richard Buswell, of Lafayette, was the owner of Curious Goods. Many of these shops in Acadiana were raided back in December of 2011 as part of a nationwide investigation into synthetic marijuana.
Across the country, that sting led to more than 90 arrests. Now, Buswell is facing serious prison time for his role in the synthetic drug ring. According to court documents, Curious Goods was a very calculated business. Buswell admits to training Curious Goods employees on how to evade law enforcement.
In 2011, documents show that a company called Pinnacle supplied Buswell and Curious Goods with the synthetic marijuana known as "Mr. Miyagi." The Feds say Curious Goods made $5 million dollars in profits from the sale of the synthetic weed. As the operation expanded, Buswell recruited others to open franchises, and had employees intentionally mislabel the products to fake compliance with the law and avoid detection by police. Buswell would also hold training sessions to tell employees to never talk about smoking the products, and advised them that their customers knew what they wanted and how to use it.
Of the nine people named in this case, four of them, including Lafayette attorneys Daniel Stanford and Barry Domingue, pleaded not guilty. U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley says Buswell's guilty plea will mean cooperation by him as the case against others involved continues.
"The plea package sets forth his obligations and part of it is that the defendant does agree to cooperate with the government in other cases, or in this case," Finley said.
Buswell will be back in court for sentencing in may of 2014. He faces 20 years in prison and a fine of one million dollars.
The other case, Buswell pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to making risky transactions on investors accounts, so he could collect on the commission. The Feds say Buswell defrauded more than 90 people, all right here in lafayette. In total, Buswell cost them $8 million dollars. He could face up to 20 years in prison for this case as well.