Federal agents in New Orleans arrested one man as part of an alleged five-state, 11-person federal synthetic marijuana smuggling ring stretching from China to New Jersey.
Liem Thanh Vu, age unknown, was arrested in connection with the international smuggling ring, U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr., in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said in a news release.
Eight other people from across the country, including two in Baton Rouge, have been arrested on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling chemicals from China as well as other smuggling and money laundering charges, the release says.
The four-count superseding indictment was handed down July 9, but was unsealed Tuesday in conjunction with the arrests and seizures, the release says.
Agents in Oklahoma, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas and California executed several search and arrest warrants Tuesday, looking for signs of synthetic marijuana, the release says.
Those arrested are accused of ordering chemicals from China and having them shipped to the United States using fake invoices and contracts, the release says. The chemicals were shipped to homes and businesses in Oklahoma, Nevada, Louisiana, California and New Jersey.
The operation began in April 2011.
The case against all 11 will be prosecuted in federal court in Tulsa.