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10 charged in Va. synthetic marijuana case by federal authorities

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NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia — Federal authorities have arrested the former owner of a Hampton tobacco shop and nine others on charges related to distributing synthetic marijuana.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia says each of the defenders have been ordered to remain in custody until a detention hearing can be held on Monday.

According to a federal indictment, the defendants sold herbal incense and aromatic potpourri that actually contained chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana.

Court records say the defendants intended the products to be smoked. Among other things, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substance analogues, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In addition to the criminal charges, prosecutors are seeking monetary judgment of more than $13 million.

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