A not guilty plea was entered yesterday by 34-year-old Chicago man accused of attempting to deal synthetic drugs known as “bath salts” in Lake County. The native Somalian man pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to traffic.
According to authorities, the man received several boxes full of bath salts, also known as Cathinone, at the end of March. Officers tipped off about the shipment arrested the man when the package arrived.
Back in 2011, Illinois became the 11th state to ban bath salts, which had become responsible for a number of deaths nationwide, including one in Illinois. Bath salts are just one of a group of other synthetic drugs banned by lawmakers in recent years, including synthetic marijuana and salvia divinorum, an herb that can cause hallucinations.
One of the challenges for lawmakers in dealing with synthetic drugs, of course, is that they are developed faster than they can be banned. Because of this, there are a variety of synthetic drugs out there that are technically not illegal, but which are probably going to be at some point in the future.
From a criminal defense perspective, an individual who is arrested for possession of a synthetic drug that is not illegal cannot be charged with a crime. It may sound a bit technical, but it is an important point to understand when it comes to building a defense case. In these cases, technicalities always matter, for both the prosecution and defense.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Man denies charges of dealing in illegal drug called ‘bath salts’,” Ruth Fuller, May 2, 2013.