'Spice' suspect allegedly directed a conspiracy to distribute the drug; possessed a huge amount

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Prosecutors say a man accused of leading a conspiracy to distribute the synthetic drug known as "spice" also made his living from the sale of the drug.

Dowinder Boparai appeared in court Thursday for the filing of charges in his case.

Documents reveal the 54-year-old was arrested on March 19 for selling 720 packets of spice with the brand label "Funky Monkey."

The next morning, investigators with search warrants opened two storage units Boparai rented along South Reservoir Road. The document says another 1,266 packets of spice were found with various brand labels inside one of those lockers.

Among the various charges Boparai faces is distribution of a synthetic cannabinoid, but Aurora Police Department spokesman Frank Fania said it is wrong to think of "spice" as manmade marijuana.

"The problem with spice is you never know what strength you're getting," he said. "You never know what batch you're getting.  You never know what the chemical make-up of it is."

In filing the charges, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said his office took into account the 221 people sickened by the drug during a month-long outbreak between August and September.

"In fact, there is a guy in Denver who -- after taking spice -- tried to cut his head off.  That is not marijuana. That is not what the State of Colorado intended to legalize and we have got to stop it," he said.

Other charges Boparai faces are conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute. He also faces sentence enhancers for allegedly leading the conspiracy to distribute and deriving his main income from the distribution of the drug.

In a previous hearing, bond was set at $175,000. Boparai's attorney argued Thursday to reduce that amount, pointing out that the federal government did not make spice illegal until February.

"So what?" Brauchler said. "The state of Colorado which was way out in front on this made this type of drug illegal well before that."

Seble Gebreegziadhair,28, was also arrested on related charges.

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