Houston Man Gets 20 Years in Synthetic-Drug Case

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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.

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.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.