The supposed mastermind behind a Houston-based synthetic drug distributorship linked to the deaths of two teens in Minnesota and North Dakota has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
Charles Carlton, sentenced in a North Dakota federal court August 28, was the 15th defendant sentenced in the multi-state "Operation Stolen Youth" investigation by the DEA, FDA, IRS, and Homeland Security. Carlton's business partner, John Polinski, was sentenced to 11 years in July.
Prosecutors said Carlton and Polinski imported synthetic drugs from overseas through a company called Motion Research, and sold them online. Two teens -- 18-year-old Christian Bjerk in North Dakota, and 17-year-old Elijah Stai in Minnesota -- died after overdosing on drugs that originated from Motion Research.
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The company's co-founder, Harry George "Scootdog" Mickelis, reportedly cooperated with investigators and was never charged. Some drug-dealers get prison; others get a pass.
Sources told us in 2013 that Mickelis cleaned out the company's bank account before calling his lawyer and chatting with the feds. Carlton, however, was ordered Thursday to forfeit $385,000 "in proceeds related to Motion Resources," according to a press release from the North Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers, who prosecuted the Operation Stolen Youth cases, stated in the release that, "In response to the tragic deaths of two young people from our community, the response of local, state, and federal law enforcement was remarkable. Within 60 days, they identified and dismantled an international drug trafficking organization and undoubtedly saved lives."
The 13 non-Houston defendants received punishments ranging from probation to 20 years.