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Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Synthetic Drug Deaths

Charles Carlton was convicted of distributing synthetic hallucinogens that killed two teens in 2012.


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By Victoria Kim


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A Texas man was sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison last Thursday for selling synthetic drugs that resulted in the deaths of two teenagers.

In March, Charles Carlton, 29, of Katy, Texas pleaded guilty to three counts, which included conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, introduction and delivery of a misbranded drug, and money laundering.

According to investigators, Carlton sold the chemicals to Andrew Spofford, who “cooked up” the drugs that killed Christian Bjerk, 18, of Grand Forks, N.D. and Elijah Stai, 17, of Park Rapids, Minn. The two died within a week of each other in June 2012 after ingesting the drugs. Spofford was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison.

Carlton owned 51% of Motion Resources LLC, a former Houston company that allegedly imported controlled substances to the United States from Asia and Europe, making hundreds of thousands of dollars by reselling them over the internet to domestic buyers. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson, who sentenced Carlton, ordered him to pay back $385,000 in drug profits.

According to federal prosecutor Chris Meyers, despite hearing about the deaths of Bjerk and Stai, Carlton continued to sell the chemicals and even filled out paperwork to change the name of the company.

“It all rests on that initial decision to sell drugs for money. It’s as bad as it gets,” Erickson said.

Carlton, who had faced a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole before his sentencing, tearfully apologized to the Bjerk family at a hearing. “If I could turn back the hands of time, I would,” he said. “I have two children of my own, and what happened to your children is my greatest fear as a parent.”

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