A Houston man has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for his role in a synthetic-drug ring that prosecutors say led to the deaths of two men in North Dakota and Minnesota in 2012.
John Robert Polinski, 26, was sentenced for his role as a "computer specialist" for an online drug importer and distributor called Motion Resources, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fargo. Motion's owner, Charles William Carlton, 29, of Katy, pleaded guilty in March for his role, and will be sentenced August 28.
Fifteen others have been charged "in connection with 'Operation Stolen Youth,'" according to federal prosecutors.
Polinski was sentenced for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of controlled substances and controlled substance analogues. Carlton faces a stiffer penalty, as his convictions include distribution of controlled substances "resulting in serious bodily injury or death, introduction and delivery of a misbranded drug, and money laundering."
The company's co-founder, Harry George "Scootdog" Mickelis, 43, reportedly cooperated with federal investigators and was never charged.
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The case was investigated in part by Homeland Security Investigations, tasked with tackling threats to national security. As we wrote in 2013: "While his business partner and IT guy waited to post bond in jail, Mickelis put pictures on Facebook of himself and his buddies enjoying themselves at a casino. Sources say he nearly cleaned out the company's bank account before calling his lawyer and cooperating with federal agents, who should have been able to make a slam-dunk case without such assistance in the first place. Mickelis seems to illustrate a very important lesson in the war against analog drugs: If you drop a dime on your fellow drug dealers -- after you've made a handsome profit -- you are no longer considered a threat to national security."