California Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Capital Region Synthetic Cannabinoids Conspiracy

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Abdullah M. Hussein, age 43, formerly of Schenectady, New York, and presently residing in California, pled guilty today to conspiring to distribute synthetic cannabinoids (frequently referred to as “spice” or K2”) in Schenectady.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; Matthew Scarpino, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Buffalo Field Office; and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division.

As part of his plea, Hussein admitted that from March through August 2018, he conspired with Rayen Hussein and Abdulqadoos Alomari to sell 2.5 kilograms’ worth of synthetic cannabinoids in brightly colored packets labeled with names including “Scooby Snax,” “Ice Dragon,” “Loopy,” “What’s Up,” and “Geeked Up” out of the former Stockade Market and Deli in downtown Schenectady.  The synthetic cannabinoid in the packets was ADB-FUBINACA, which is a Schedule I controlled substance.

Co-conspirators Rayen Hussein and Alomari were arrested on August 17, 2018, when investigators executed federal search warrants on multiple locations in Schenectady, Amsterdam and Glenville, New York, and seized a kilogram’s worth of synthetic cannabinoids packaged for distribution.  They have both pled guilty to conspiring to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and are awaiting sentencing. 

Abdullah M. Hussein, Rayen Hussein and Alomari each face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, fines of up to $1 million, and terms of supervised release of at least 3 years and up to life.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute(s) the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Co-conspirator Mansoor Ghaleb pled guilty to importing 8 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids from China with the goal of processing the raw chemicals into “spice” or “K2” for distribution in the Capital Region, including out of the Stockade Market and Deli. On August 21, 2019, Ghaleb was sentenced to 60 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release by Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe.

This case was investigated by the DEA, HSI, and the USPIS.  The Schenectady Police Department, Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office, Amsterdam Police Department and Albany Police Department also assisted in the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.