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Max Myong Ahn, 60, was sentenced on May 8 in federal court to probation. Federal agents in 2013 discovered Ahn’s stores were selling Spice, a brand of synthetic cannabinoid, which is against the law.
Jasmine Stole/PDN

A 60-year-old store owner who was caught selling synthetic marijuana was sentenced to five years probation in federal court Monday afternoon.

Max Myong Ahn owned stores Gallop USA and Max’s Smoke Shop when federal agents raided them in 2013 and found Spice, or synthetic marijuana. He was selling it in his stores for about $40 a unit, or about $10 to $20 a gram, according to Clyde Lemons Jr., assistant U.S. Attorney.

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood sentenced Ahn to probation, which means he will not spend any time incarcerated. He will, however, spend one year under home confinement.

This is the first case of someone being prosecuted for Spice in federal court, said defense attorney Peter C. Perez. No others have been prosecuted since, Lemons said.

Federal agents in 2012 tracked packages of synthetic marijuana to several stores in Guam, court documents state. DEA agents went undercover and bought Spice at several stores and sent the products to a DEA lab in California.

Ahn in 2012 owned Gallop USA, which used to be in the Micronesia Mall, and Max’s Smoke Shop in Tamuning, court documents state.

Federal agents went undercover and bought a total of 3.8 grams of Spice at Gallop USA on July 6, 2012.

Undercover agents again in December 2012 bought 2 grams  of Spice from Max’s Smoke Shop and another 1.8 grams  from Gallop.

Agents later in December 2013 searched Max’s Smoke Shop, where they found 25 bags of Spice and 50 plastic jars with Spice residue. When agents searched Gallop they recovered 792.8 grams of Spice, according to court documents. A total of 837.1 grams were taken from Ahn’s stores.

After receiving lab results, DEA agents went to several stores and told them to stop selling the illegal product. Ahn is the only store owner to be charged, court documents state.

Ahn was charged in November 2016. He signed a plea deal and was judged guilty of unlawful use of the mail to facilitate the distribution of controlled substance analogues.

Ahn kept his head down for most of Monday’s sentencing hearing. Before the judge handed down a sentence, Ahn was able to address the court and he said that he was deeply sorry. “Please have mercy on me,” Ahn said, adding that he will never sell Spice again.

At the time of his arrest, there was some ambiguity about the legality of Spice, which Tydingco-Gatewood said she considered when she sentenced Ahn.

Perez said Ahn has not sold any Spice since his businesses were raided.

A 16-year-old girl in June 2012 was sent to the hospital after smoking Spice. The girl’s adult sister bought it for her from the Gallop store, according to Ahn’s plea agreement. The girl is now an adult and did not suffer any permanent damage.

Ahn will have to pay a $7,500 fine and $583 in restitution, the amount of the girl’s medical bills. The girl refused to take the money, so it will go to Department of Public Health and Social Services’ for Medicaid. Ahn also forfeited more than $129,000 to the federal government.

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