Federal authorities call Texas fireworks store a front for drug trafficking scheme

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently arrested eight people in east Texas on federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges. The defendants are accused of distributing industrial chemicals “nationwide” for use as a recreational drug.

Earlier in July, DEA agents raided a business called Right Price Chemicals, which has the same location and owners as a seasonal business called Jake’s Fireworks. The raid was triggered by the interception of packages allegedly mailed by Right Price Chemicals. The parcels contained “a chemical manufactured for… use as a floor stripper or vehicle wheel cleaner that is not intended for human consumption,” according to the DEA. It appears the agency is referring to Butanediol (BD or BDO), which is a common substitute for GHB, a party drug. BD can also stimulate human growth hormone production.

The DEA claims that Right Price Chemicals has sold $4.5 million worth of BDO since 2016, a total of about 7,000 gallons. The defendants are also accused of funneling some of that money through bank and retirement accounts. After raiding the company, agents arrested eight people, several of whom appear to be related. They face a litany of charges, including several conspiracy crimes, trafficking crimes and money laundering.

Criminal defense against drug charges is vital

Federal drug trafficking charges carry severe sentencing guidelines. Long prison sentences are common. But if you are facing federal drug charges, you may have options to reduce or eliminate the risk of incarceration. You should discuss these options with a criminal defense attorney who practices in federal court before you make any decisions about pleading guilty. You should also avoid answering any questions by the police without your lawyer present.