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Broward County Man Suspected of Running a Flakka Distribution

Importing and distributing controlled substances and their analogues are serious federal crimes. Recently, a Broward County man suspected of running a flakka distribution organization was apprehended and made his first appearance in federal court Thursday. According to the Sun-Sentinel News,

After evading law enforcement for three months, a Broward County man suspected of running a flakka-distribution organization made his first appearance in federal court Thursday.

Kevin Raphael Bully, 25, was arraigned before a judge just weeks after being declared a fugitive from justice in a case believed to be among the first to target the importation of the synthetic drug causing havoc on South Florida streets.

It's not clear whether he surrendered or was captured.

The Pompano Beach man's appearance in a West Palm Beach courtroom came months after his co-defendant, ex-girlfriend Jaime Nicole Lewis, 22, was arrested and ordered held without bond.

Lewis, described as having an accountant-type role in Bully's operation, was nabbed in April, soon after a criminal complaint was filed against the two.

During Lewis's April 27 pretrial detention hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris said the case was, to his knowledge, one of the first of its kind in the Southern District of Florida.

Flakka, dubbed $5 insanity by some, burst onto local law enforcement's radar late last summer, authorities said. It comes in a crystalline rock form and contains the chemical compound alpha-PVP, a powerful synthetic simulant.

Side effects include hallucinations, combativeness and suicidal thoughts, and people reportedly high on it have streaked naked and attacked others. The substance also has contributed to multiple deaths in Broward and Palm Beach counties, officials say.

"This is a dangerous drug," Morris said at the April hearing. "There's no real prescribed amount to take. You don't know how much you ingest when you take it."

According to the complaint against Bully and Lewis, the Drug Enforcement Administration was led to the pair after agents in London intercepted Palm Beach County-bound packages shipped from a Hong Kong-based chemical company. Inside the packages, they found a white crystallized substance that tested positive for alpha-PVP.

On March 26, an undercover agent dressed as a DHL employee delivered one of the packages to the Boca Raton address it listed. The package had Lewis' name on it, but a man later identified as Bully answered the door and signed for it.

When Bully left the house in a black Audi minutes later, he was stopped by authorities. A search of his car turned up $8,000 cash. A search of his home revealed three cellphones, $60,000 cash, marijuana, a handgun, a white substance believed to be used to "cut" drugs and an empty DHL bag from the Chinese chemical company.

On Bully's cellphone, authorities found a text message conversations with Lewis and others about deliveries to different addresses. In the messages, Bully instructed Lewis and others to write "return to sender" on the packages — a move agents say is often made so that a drug trafficker can claim to have had no ownership of a package if later asked by law enforcement.

"Agents believe Bully utilizes different names and addresses to ship the narcotics in order to remain disconnected from the packages," the complaint said.

Lewis and Bully were indicted May 5 on two counts of two counts of importing flakka and two counts of possessing it with intent to distribute. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

During Lewis' hearing in April, her attorney tried to establish that Bully was the one making the orders. But a DEA agent testified that that had not yet been determined.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Bully has a criminal record dating back 10 years and including arrests on charges of burglary, aggravated assault, sale of cocaine and, most recently, drug smuggling.

In a court filing Thursday, he invoked his right to remain silent.