Seabrook Smoking Monkey owner pleads guilty in deadly fake weed case
Seacoast online reports
A Seabrook businessman pleaded guilty last week to being a part of a nationwide conspiracy to distribute illegal synthetic cannabinoids, known on the street as fake weed or spice.
William Walsh, 56, entered the plea in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, as part of a negotiated deal with prosecutors.
Walsh managed Seabrook-based smoke shops, Up ‘N Smoke and The Smoking Monkey, as well as the adult entertainment venue Leather and Lace. His plea indicates his confirmation that he purchased nearly $200,000 worth of spice from a California-based wholesale spice manufacturer, selling it to customers. According to Walsh’s indictment, one of those customers is alleged to have died from a resulting overdose.
Walsh was initially charged with conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids, resulting in death, according to the March 2020 indictment. If convicted of that crime, Walsh would have faced a life sentence in federal prison and a fine as high as $1 million.
According to the plea agreement, however, Walsh pleaded to the lesser charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute spice. With the plea, Walsh waived going to trial on the original charges.
Walsh faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the single charge, although his sentence could be less than the maximum, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern Virginia, which prosecuted the case.
He will appear at a status hearing on March 31.
According to Walsh’s plea agreement with prosecutors at the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia: “The United States makes no promise or representation concerning what sentence the defendant (Walsh) will receive, and the defendant cannot withdraw a guilty plea based upon the actual sentence.”
How investigation went from Virginia to NH
The case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation, which investigates the highest-level drug traffickers, as well as money launderers.