Two arrests and significant seizures are reported in connection with a year-long federal investigation of illegal sales of the controlled substance commonly called “spice” from co-owned smoke shops in northwest Arizona and New Mexico. Ray Smith, 50, and Tamara Phillips, 47, were arrested in the Kingman area last Thursday.
A news release and an indictment made public Tuesday describe Smith as the President of Smokin Body Jewelry and Phillips as the secretary of the company that operated smoke shops in downtown Kingman and in the New Mexico communities of Las Vegas and Raton. Each of the businesses was seized as were 18 bank accounts, a safety deposit box, eight parcels of real property and several vehicles as Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents executed six search warrants last Thursday.
“The estimated aggregate value of the real property, currency and other assets seized on February 18, 2016 exceeds $2.3-million, including approximately $220,000 in cash,” a DEA news release stated. “The agents and officers also seized approximately 11 kilograms of precursor chemicals allegedly shipped from China in the primary residence of Smith and Phillips. In addition, approximately 25 kilograms of suspected spice with a street value of $250,000 was seized from the stores and the residence of Smith and Phillips.”
The DEA said that the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the indictment that charges them with conspiring to sell illegal drugs and launder drug proceeds.