Federal prosecutors say an Ashland couple accused of peddling over the Internet a diluted version of industrial bleach as an elixir for everything from ear aches to cancer are a flight risk and should remain jailed until their case is settled.
Defendants Louis Daniel Smith and Karis Delong fled to Ecuador after federal agents in June 2011 raided their Spokane residence, where prosecutors say they illegally sold "Miracle Mineral Supplement" under their Project GreenLife label.
In an October 2011 email seized in the case, Smith wrote to a friend that the couple were in a South American country and had friends ready "to take us into the jungle" should they be indicted for alleged violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Smith, 42, and the 38-year-old Delong are scheduled to appear Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane. During the arraignment hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno will hear arguments over whether the couple should be released while their case plays out in court.
Imbrogno has already released two co-defendants indicted in the case, which focuses on the sale of an industrial chemical not licensed for ingestion but bought by people who swear by its abilities to cure a suite of ailments that conventional drugs cannot.
Smith, Delong and codefendant Tammy Olson, 50, of Nine Mile Falls, Wash., were each charged with conspiracy, four counts of interstate sales of misbranded drugs and one count of smuggling stemming from an investigation by FDA special agents and U.S. Postal Service investigators.
Also charged was Olson's husband, 49-year-old Chris Olson, with one count of conspiracy, one count of the interstate sale of a misbranded drug and one count of smuggling.
The most serious charge is smuggling, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parisi stated in a Monday court filing that the defendants face a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison if convicted on all the charges, but they likely would be sentenced in a range of 63 months to 78 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
— Mark Freeman
Read more in Wednesday's paper.